Hear Ex-Q and Not U Duo Paint Branch’s Strummy Homecoming Plaint ‘I Wanna Live’

Paint Branch

You can never go home again, but we can never completely escape the places that shaped us, either. Paint Branch, the duo of former Q and Not U members Chris Richards and John Davis, already left behind the dance-y post-punk of their beloved Washington, D.C., band on richly Laurel Canyon-tinged “Brighton Beach,” the first track from their new project’s debut album, I Wanna Live (due out on January 8). Our latest glimpse of the album, the title track, doesn’t stray too far from the same low-key, harmony-filled, acoustic-based terrain, but lyrically it finds Richards “running wild in my birthplace.” What he can’t remember is why. Though Richards eventually confesses he “never wanted to leave” — right before Davis rips a delicate albeit searing guitar solo — in the end he acknowledges ruefully, “It’s a love we know we’ll never get back / And it’s making a fool of us.” Nothing foolish about it.

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