The wait is over. The bell has been rung, and it tolls for thee – and for the return of Belfast rockers Paper Tigers. Following the huge swell of support from their first three singles, the quartet announces the coming of their debut EP “Graceless”. A dichotomy on the many aspects of life that drag you down, this EP was recorded in Start Together Studios and mastered by Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Wolf Alice, and more) and sees the Alt-rock four-piece at their most ferocious.

To mark this announcement, Paper Tigers will release their first single this year, ‘Blue Light Trails’. A zingy, fierce new track that sees the band capture their live energy and bottle it into a compact, dense slice of blues-infused hard rock.

Inspired by the swirling escapism found at the bottom of the bottle, ‘Blue Light Trails’ follows our protagonist through a particularly dark evening as reality slips further from their fingers. And the lower they sink, the economics of their downfall becomes more and more clear. Powered by angular guitar and the fierce yowl of vocalist Hayley Norton, ‘Blue Light Trails’ sets listeners down the path of Paper Tigers as they were intended: no brakes.

Blue Light Trails is the story of a million different people all over the world, running towards the weekend, towards the inebriated escapism that removes them from themselves and the monotony of the working week spent in servitude to someone else’s needs. It’s your favorite song in the club, the 3 A.M. party, dancing in the living room of someone you don’t know, making best friends with a stranger in a bathroom that you won’t remember their name in the morning, it the sun coming up and splitting the blinds while you smile from ear to ear. Its escapism.

In that escapism, there’s a quiet desperation filling a void with the false happiness of alcohol and whatever else they can get their hands on. It’s a coping mechanism, fleeing from something inside yourself, lying to yourself that this is all fine and waking up the next day, every week, with the bitter realization that it’s not ok, that it’s making everything worse, it’s about wanting more and stretching for it but not quite reaching it. It’s about how it makes you feel graceless.”

Paper Tigers are an alt-rock band based in Belfast. Formed in 2018 by Michael Smyth with Hayley Norton on vocals, Emma Rose on bass, and joined by Matt Milner on drums.

2019 saw Paper Tigers come out swinging, gigging incessantly and releasing debut single ‘Gucci Smiles’ which earned them a nomination for Best Single at the NI Music Prize. This was followed by their sophomore single ‘Flames’, released at the very beginning of the global pandemic.

‘No Ghosts Walk’ was released in October 2020 and became the band’s most successful single to date. The track will see a vinyl release as part of a compilation on Blow Torch Records.

To date the band has had plays on iHeartRadio, John Bakers Totally Irish show on 98fm, Dan Hegarty on RTE2fm, BBC Radio Ulster Across the Line as well as a number of other local and international radio stations. The band has had premieres on Chordblossom and Rock N Load magazine as well as reviews or interviews in YMX Your Music Experience, Chordblossom, Rock N Load, Yeo Magazine, Messed Up Magazine, The Otherside Reviews. They were included at number 18 in Rigsys Top 50 Irish tracks of 2020 in the Daily Mirror. Playlisted by The Golden Plec, Lucy McCourt, She Makes Music, and Gig Radar amongst others.

Paper Tigers have supported Life and Hundredth on their Irish tour dates.

The band recently received Arts Council NI funding which allowed them to record their debut EP with Ryan McGroarty from Beauty Sleep at the prestigious Start Together Studios in Belfast. The EP will be mastered by Robin Schmidt who has worked with the likes of The 1975, Wolf Alice, and Placebo. The first single from this will be released in October 2021 with an accompanying UK and Scottish tour in November.

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Cover photo: (c) Y-Control Photography