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Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax


There was a famous sociological study which asked cultures around the world about their ideas on beauty. In the end, there was one constant that rifled through all the surveyed cultures: what is beautiful is youth.

And so it is here, where I start with the energetic and yes, young, act of Paean. In Greek, a paean is a song of praise or joy. And while the members of Paean are young - they are more than that: theyre absolutely beautiful. Er, their music is. However, and before we lift-off, lets not confuse terms: in age, the members are young. Their sound is anything but childish, undeveloped, or young.

I hesitate to call Paean a band. Their songs are colossal. Their sound: symphonic. Their orchestration is that kind of redemptive and harnessed wilderness that lives behind all of our sternums. There is, alas, a hint of something youthful that kind of bright, wild and unadulterated violence that we all ache to crawl backwards in-time, towards. Physically, Paean is a dance with arms outward and the land bouncing beneath your rollicking feet.

Paean is a larger band: Aaron Landgraf - Bass, Guitar, Vocals; Anna Maddocks - Piano, Violin, Vocals; Dave Maddocks - Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Vocals; Jonathan Alonzo - Bass, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Vocals; Marty Albertz - Drums, Guitar; Trumpet, Vocals; Tim Maddocks - Drums, Piano, Trumpet, Vocals. They have many guest appearances by such notables as Alana Rolfe from Stella Luce and Fierce Bad Rabbit among many others.

Dave Maddocks was the force responsible for the initial incarnation of Paean. It was his writing project his primary conceptualization. Now, the act is more collaborative. As they do on stage, in the writing process they all have a voice. To this end, Paean is larger than a hobby, its an exercise. Its life experience growing legs. Its collaboration as strength. Its communication as a lesson on how to better interact with the world around you. Paean is a song in praise of standing-up, growing taller and finding the correct emotional response in a moment and complimenting that with consistency.

And while the band works together on compositions and creates the textures with their intuitive hand it is Maddocks who creates the content in the work. He employs history, newsclippings. He plays with notions of introspection and interpersonal relationships. An accountant by trade, Maddocks dips into the arena of economics. And, you should have guessed he plays with the subject of age and the battle between simplicity and overindulgence.

Paean may be young, on the whole but it may be just on account of this where their virtue finds its feet. For it is precisely their youth that enables their vigor; loosens their energetic atoms. Only a short spell into it and they already have one album, they are in the process of wrapping-up another album and they have already spent time on the road. For certain, the members of Paean have taken this calling quite seriously, and they have responded justly: with their head-down and working, pushing forward. Onward.

Leaning on one another to find their consistent vision may be the strength of Paean. But it is their molecular buzz that gives every song its life; every stage its power. From Fort Collins, the band is leaning toward a home and launching pad in Denver. So, stay tuned to their rise: www.myspace.com/paeanco.