It’s been a busy few years for the alt-rock band Paramore, who for a long while existed in the awkward no-man’s land between emo, pop-punk and a furtive hint of hardcore.
The band from Franklin, Tenn., lost two of its founding members (brothers Josh and Zac Farro) in late 2010, but regrouped and released a self-titled LP in April. “Paramore,” which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200, is a dramatic shift in style and shows a band — all still in their early 20s — growing up in fits and starts.
Led by frontwoman Hayley Williams, Paramore plays the KeyArena tonight with Metric, another band that knows a thing or two about reinvention. Fun fact: Metric formed in 1998, the year Williams turned 10 years old.
“It’s a different lineup,” said Taylor York, the band’s guitarist who for the first time on “Paramore” acted as one of the band’s main songwriters along with Williams. “We’re playing a two men down and the main music writer left. We knew we needed a change but we also had no choice but to change.”
The result of all that change was an album that sounds a little like an alt-rock sampler tray. One minute it’s the cheeky, buoyant confection “Grow Up,” then the band throws their version of anthemic dream-pop at you with “Daydreaming” on the very next track.
It’s easy to forget how young the band members are considering that it’s been eight years since their 2005 debut “All We Know Is Falling” and six years since they broke out with 2007′s platinum hit “Riot!” They and their fans were teenagers. That’s not the case anymore.
“It felt like we developed a fan base and some sort of off a particular sound and we felt like we had to keep going with that,” York said. “At some point we realized that’s not where we’re at anymore and we had to open ourselves up to where we’re at. I think we needed to change and our fans needed to change.”
York, 23, has stamped his presence all over “Paramore” as he took on the task of replacing Josh Farro as Williams’ writing partner. If York’s intent was to distance Paramore from its old sound, he succeeded.
“It was both my favorite thing I’ve done in my life and the most terrifying thing I’ve done in my life,” York said. “This is the first time I felt like I had to kind of rise to something, which is really crippling at first. Hayley is a really unbelievable writer and vocalist, and we developed a really amazing dynamic and trust. It turned out really cool.”
Hellogoodbye open things up. Lead singer Forrest Kline’s frenetic indie pop is an interesting choice to open the show. Along with the decision to go out on tour with Metric, it serves as a stark reminder of just how sweeping some of Paramore’s changes have been.
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails