Floating along on a muttery wave of gelid, slushy demi-pop, Papercuts’s You Can Have What You Want should raise few eyebrows, at times seeming only half awake itself, encased as it is in a thickly lazy ambience. The music flows buoyantly, but never raises its voice above the opium stupor in which it buries itself, padded so fully that any shocks are entirely absorbed and all sounds appear uniformly deadened. This can be pleasant, but little stands out as outstanding or even particularly memorable. Most songs, like “A Peculiar Hallelujah,” operate on a textbook level, exclamatory voices butting up against walls of gauzy atmosphere, but never finding enough strength to punch through. The album’s energy never seems to be as great as its all-consuming torpor.
The lyrics are suitably disingenuous for this kind of dreamy pop, with lines like “See the jet plane passing by/I know they can’t see my face” on the aptly titled “Jet Plane” seeming less like posed simplicity than lazy steam-of-consciousness blather. This minimalist approach fits the mood of the songs, but pushes the album further into a constant state of soapy nonentity, with loose borders and a mushed-together, almost melted feel. It’s the type of thing you can listen to again and again and still barely remember.
In a 2004 review, PopMatters described Papercuts’s Mockingbird as recalling “a marching band on Quaaludes” and that description fits here as well, particularly on songs like “Dead Love,” where a thick bass drum reverberates somewhere beneath a opaque glaze, and “The Wolf,” where the heavy drum adds a metronomic, sleepy quality. But the album’s somnolence isn’t as much atmospheric as it is stultifying. The production is so thick that the songs that do work, like the relatively exciting “Future Primative,” get swallowed in the muck.