The Paper Kites


“If you were to walk along a busy street, and something caught your eye – something small that had no business being there – but you picked it up and put it in your pocket.  You couldn’t say why, but for some reason, you kept it with you. To me, that’s our music” – Sam Bentley

Ever the quiet achievers, The Paper Kites (frontman Sam Bentley, vocalist Christina Lacy, guitarist Dave Powys, drummer Josh Bentley and bassist Sam Rasmussen) return with their 5th studio album, Roses (out March 12, 2021 via Nettwerk Records).  With their brand of weather-beaten ballads and rain-drenched pop, the ten album tracks bleeds with gentle significance, full of power and sentimentality.

Featuring a powerhouse of female accompanists in Lucy Rose (UK), Julia Stone (AU), Nadia Reid (NZ), MARO (PT), Aoife O’Donovan (US), Rosie Carney (IE), Ainslie Wills (AU), Amanda Bergman (SE), Lydia Cole (NZ) and Gena Rose Bruce (AU), Roses is the first collaborative release from the band.  “I had written these songs and had always wanted to do an album like this, but I remember almost scrapping the whole project because it felt too hard. It was about finding the right voices for the songs – artists that couldn’t just sing but had something deep and moving in the way they sang – and that’s not every singer – it’s rare,” Sam explains.

The opening track “Walk Above The City” features prolific Portuguese singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist MARO – who in 2018 alone released six albums, toured internationally as a part of Jacob Collier’s live band, and has been under the management wing of legendary producer Quincy Jones“I remember Maro was the first artist that agreed to be on the album, which was perfect because she was the first artist in a long time who stopped me in my tracks when I heard her sing. We saw her play in Munich with Jacob Collier and I’d never heard anything like her voice. I didn’t find out until we connected a few months later that she was a fan of our band. It was really special to do that song with her.”

“Climb On Your Tears” features Grammy award-winning US bluegrass artist Aoife O’Donovan, who is well known for her solo albums, as the lead singer of bluegrass/string band Crooked Still, and features on records with Chris Thile& Yo-Yo Ma. “We were really lucky to have Aoife, she’s an American treasure and such a beautiful voice, for some reason I felt we needed a bluegrass singer on that song even though it wasn’t indicative of the genre – but she loved the song and was excited to be involved, her voice is amazing – you can hear that bluegrass soul in her singing,” says Sam.

New Zealand folk queen Nadia Reid features on “Take Me Home.”  Sam recalls the challenges of trying to record an album as the world shut down.  “We managed to fly Nadiaover to Melbourne to record that song just before both of our countries closed their borders – we didn’t know it was coming, she had just released her third album and had a huge tour lined up that she had to cancel. I don’t think she knew that was the last time she’d get to travel internationally or record in a studio that year, but I’m certainly glad we could get her here to do that song. There’s something moving in that song.”  Similarly, much loved Melbourne artists Ainslie Wills & Gena Rose Bruce were both able to record in the studio with the band before the city was locked down. 

The band reached out to all corners of the globe to their collaborators, some long-time friends like New Zealand’s Lydia Cole on their song “Dearest.”  “Lydiais truly one of my favorite songwriters, I’d been looking for a reason to have her involved on one of our records for a while, but this was the first time we were able to. For her and all of these artists, I hope this album can also be a gateway into discovering their music,” notes Sam.

Australian legend Julia Stone, better known as one half of brother/sister duo Angus & Julia Stone features on the conversational duet “Without Your Love.” “I grew up listening to Julia’s music and some of her work was pivotal in turning me down the road I went – so to approach her and have her love that song and want to sing on it was an amazing full-circle moment – she’s such an important figure of the folk revival in Australia and I don’t think we would be a band without them leading the way. It was a real honor to work with her.”

“For All You Give” was recorded with UK songstress Lucy Rose in a small upstairs room while the band was on tour in Brighton last year, a tour that would inevitably be the last they would be able to do for some time. Despite the limitations on travel, the band pushed on with finishing the album by asking artists to record from home in whatever way they could. 

“I remember Rosie Carney recording “By My Side” on the floor of her London flat she was so concerned that she had no idea what she was doing – she wasn’t used to having to record without an engineer present and I think felt it wouldn’t sound good enough – but it’s remarkable what we can achieve these days in terms of collaborations and home recording technology from the other side of the world – she sent her vocals over and they were so beautiful.”

As well as approaching artists that they knew and loved for the album, certain songs gave way to discovering new artists. Such was the case with Sweden’s Amanda Bergman“‘Crossfire‘ was a song we got stuck on, I couldn’t find a vocalist that I felt was right for the song, and I was just scouring the depths of Spotify but couldn’t find anything until one day I somehow came across Amanda Bergman. Her music is so good, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of her before. I managed to get in contact with her, she lives out on a farm in remote Sweden and luckily had a studio on site. She recorded it and sent it to us – her voice is incredible – so much depth and soul, we were so glad to have her on that song.”

Produced by Sam Bentley & Tom Iansek (#1 Dads, Big Scary) – Roses is a testament to sincere, patient, and understated songwriting. A deeply moving collection of songs, helmed by a cherished selection of artists. 

The Paper Kites deliver one of their most earnest and thoughtful albums, a treasured record to pick up off the busy street and keep with you.

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