The new recording follows the mysterious rise of Paris Texas, the joint project of Louie Pastel and Felix. The duo crept onto the scene through a chain of drops including “FORCE OF HABIT,” “SITUATIONS” and “HEAVY METAL.” Along the way, they offered little evidence about where exactly the project was headed.
At last, the new release offers listeners a chance to truly take stock of the secretive act. More than that, BOY ANONYMOUS is the first attempt by the pair to figure out a sound for themselves.
Paris Texas have thrived on the particular kind of musical freedom that anonymity brings. The group has cultivated an enigmatic persona through their music, something merely echoed by their cryptic music videos and social media posts.
Songs like “SITUATIONS” have helped to an extent. There, the duo’s signature blend of hip hop and alt-rock is on full display. The music echoes their lyrical declaration to keep it cool in spite of life’s “situations.” As if to underscore the message, the track casually sets verses adrift on top of matter-of-fact instrumentals.
Along the way, we’ve gotten glimpses that there is something more to the duo. The group have sprinkled hints like easter eggs; GPS coordinates here, faux-dossiers there. However, the pair have always kept us guessing about what exactly they stand for.
The name is certainly no help. The title calls out German auteur director Wim Wenders’ 1984 Criterion Collection-bait Paris, Texas. In fact, as Loud And Quiet uncovered in a rare interview, they initially considered the even more obvious namecheck “Paris Texas (1984).” Still, Pastel admitted in the same interview that his primary interest was in the film’s mysterious posters, not quite in flexing his art house pedigree.
The band’s unpretentious sneer is particularly clear on the raw riffing of “HEAVY METAL,” which embraced full-on gallows humor with its brutal visual. Through macabre teasers and no-fucks-given verses, Paris Texas make it clear they aren’t afraid to talk tough or ruffle feathers.
What ultimately marks the group as unique, however, is their unique juxtaposition of irreverence and honesty. It’s impossible to disregard their contempt for labels and expectations. Even so, the duo also harbor a deep sincerity and a clear love of sound.
Their musical attitude was conveyed to Loud And Quiet, where Pastel spoke about the pair’s approach to writing and their refusal to follow easy models.
“Luckily, I’m blessed, because I’m not really that good of a producer, honestly,” Pastel says to Loud And Quiet. “I’m more of a composer, because I also write the song. There’s a lot of trial and error. Early on, when we tried to work with other producers, it was hard because everybody’s already used to making a certain type of song. It was like, ‘Do you sound like Mac DeMarco? Is this like a trap beat? Is it a Drake song? Is it a King Krule song?’ And if it was, it’d be like, ‘Oh, we can make this in a second,’ but they were like, ‘Well, this is just like a jumbled mess, we don’t know what to do’ and I’m like ‘Ok, well I don’t know what to tell you, because this is what we’re doing.’”
BOY ANONYMOUS constructs a musical world for the group. Still, it remains peppered with these “I don’t know what to tell you” moments, little imperfections left in the mix as if to keep the record straight. The sound is clearest on “FORCE OF HABIT.” There, the group sets braggadocious verses over laid back guitar parts. Somewhere along the way, the song seems to taper off, the instrumentals dropping out one by one. It’s as if even this display is too much exposure for the group.
In a candid Instagram post, Pastel wrote about the group’s refusal of easy comparisons.
“so a lot of times ppl ask us what genre we make, or how do we describe our sound,” Pastel writes. “And honestly, we never really had an answer for a long time. a lot of time people will try to come up with an answer for you. ‘OH THIS IS JUST (insert artist name here).’ like yo stfu bozo lol we get it. categories make things comfortable for our lil lizard brains. But this project we kinda embraced the ideal of not knowing exactly who or what we are, hence the name: BOY ANONYMOUS.”
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Paris Texas clearly spit at neat labels and cheap name drops. But it’s also true the pair have a better sense of who they are than they are letting on.
The group’s ambition is on display from the hop, shining through on their record’s lead track “CASINO.” Toward the end, the track suddenly breaks into shimmering instrumentals that push the song forward. It’s a sound that matches the group, aiming for great heights.
What do you think of Paris Texas’ BOY ANONYMOUS? Let us know in the comments below.