Wednesday, June 26, 2013

REVIEW: Palms - Palms

If you seek something utterly engaging, new and different yet anchored to something familiar, you are directed to seek out the self-titled debut of Palms, an L.A.-based quartet consisting of Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno and former Isis members Bryant Clifford Meyer (guitars, keyboards), Jeff Caxide (bass, keyboards), and Aaron Harris (drums, electronics). It's got a big, almost overwhelming sound and doesn't fit neatly in any of your usual genres. The rhythm section is booming, and blends with the synths to supply almost all the sound sometimes, and at all times it supplies a strong underpinning to the music. At different times Meyer's beautiful, almost crystalline guitar tones are out front, or they share the spotlight with Moreno's majestic vocals.

In a way, I'm reminded of an old favorite, Bad Brains - the pace is obviously different, as Palms' songs are much more slowly paced and certainly more atmospheric. But to me, there are similarities: the fullness of their sound, the sound of some of Meyer's guitar tones and certainly the way Moreno's vocals are treated, do remind me of Dr. Know and H.R. And Bad Brains was another genre-busting act with a history of playing different kinds of music that sounded exactly like nobody but themselves.

Here's the "single" - the slow-building, blasted, beautiful "Patagonia":

The album consists of six songs, the shortest of which is the 5:44 "Tropics" and the longest the 10:00 "Mission Sunset". The first song, "Future Warrior", is all L.A. - in fact, the beginning of it is a bit reminiscent of the Wang Chung soundtrack to "To Live And Die in LA". And running short of adjectives to describe this record, I'd add in "expansive" and "cinematic" - maybe that is a function of them being residents of Tinsel Town, but whatever it is, this is certainly an album you can get lost in. It's out now (June 25) on Ipecac Records.

Tour dates:

July 10           San Diego, CA         Belly Up Tavern
July 11           Santa Ana CA           The Observatory
July 12           Los Angeles, CA      The Troubadour   SOLD OUT
July 13           San Francisco, CA    Slim’s
July 29           Los Angeles, CA       Hollywood Bowl (w/System of a Down)

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