The NJ-based, self-described “new age love rock” outfit Paths delivers two new bouncy singles following their 2018 release Still. “If Only I” sounds like what a mille-feuille tastes like: sweet and texturally varied without becoming a sticky, overpowering mess. If that analogy went over your head, may I suggest you pay a visit to your nearest French bakery. In non-pastry terms, Paths is able to meld synths, folky guitar, and saxophone into a clean, cohesive song. Which, I imagine, is no easy feat. Lead singer Sam Keeler’s vocals are dreamy yet sincere, taking precedence over the simple and understated lyrics. “If Only I” is highly listenable and accessible without sacrificing its innate sophistication or technical prowess.
If the B-side “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” sounds familiar, it should. The song, originally written and recorded by the inimitable Dolly Parton, tells the tale of a forlorn figure reminiscing about a lover from long ago. Paths swap Parton’s upbeat, country twang for a more subdued and contemporary take. Although some may deem a Dolly Parton cover to be a tad trite (considering Parton’s music has been covered by, well, everyone), Paths’s version is a solid, non-pretentious interpretation of an already well-crafted song.
“If Only I” and “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” are both perfect examples of what happens when artists don’t attempt to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, intelligibility works best.
- Accessible and highly listenable
- Texturally interesting
- Sophisticated yet not pretentious
- Lyrics are not highly imaginative or evocative, also hard to decipher
- A Dolly Parton cover may be interpreted as uninspired