NPR All Things Considered | 04.06.00

HOST: The band Papas Fritas were formed in 1992 by three musicians with a shared love of sixties and seventies pop music. Their third album, titled "Buildings & Grounds," has just been released. They've again recorded it themselves and reviewer David Greenberger tells us about it.

Since their last album, Papas Fritas have settled into middle age as a band. The trio formed when all three were undergraduates at Tufts University, right in the midst of Boston's ever-exuberant music scene. They've been together for more than seven years now, and the sound of carefree youth has been been replaced by a more world weary romanticism.

MUSIC: Track 3 "Way You Walk"

The most noticeable change on their new CD is an openness -- an airiness. The lush pop layering of their earlier work has given way to a deeper soulfulness. It's as if Al Green joined Fleetwood Mac. The music is more expansive, and also quieter. This evolution has created a more powerful emotional atmosphere that their music breathes within.

MUSIC: Track 2 "People Say"

With "Buildings & Grounds" Papas Fritas also adopted a new working strategy. Their previous albums were entirely recorded in their own homemade studio. This time they just laid down the basic tracks there, and then recorded the vocals and did most of the post-production work at a digital 24-track studio.

MUSIC: Track 1 "Girl"

Shivika Asthana's crystal-clear, vibrato-free vocals confidently mix introspection with good-natured flair and verve. Her layered vocals on "Far From An Answer" add a dreaminess to this quietly propulsive number.

MUSIC: Track 6 "Far From An Answer"

Tony Goddess sings "Lost In A Dream" which closes the album, and it's his finest vocal to date. Keith Gendel's bass playing is a marvel on this number as well. "Buildings & Grounds" finds Papas Fritas delivering on every promise of their youth, in ways both unexpected and undeniable.

MUSIC: Track 13 "Lost In A Dream"