Palms is a somewhat traditional rock band (who have chosen the somewhat traditional path of having an eponymous first release) with a familiar instrumental configuration for the genre (guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals) but the energies coaxed from those instruments synergize into a sound much more ethereal than the likes of The Doors or The Stooges via the hands and minds (and tongue?) of the artists comprising the band. Instead of a lo-fidelity, dirty, bluesy rock sound the listener finds his or herself surrounded by a landscape of mellifluous sonic territory often similar to what you could expect from Disintegration-era The Cure with clean, echoing guitar notes twinkling and decaying across the sound field but with the added dimension of the recurring infusion of a deep, almost metal-style distorted guitar strum which flows heavily like the crest of an ocean wave crashing down or streams of rapid-motion magma. This offering actually feels as though it is placing you somewhere physically and carrying you around the mystical area as the songs flow and change from movement to movement. The vocals follow suit often soaring and breathing through the tracks with a sort of tranquility but always managing to complement the recrudescent aggression with a sharp and distinctive bite that retains musicality while vocalist/lyricist Chino Moreno both vaguely and colorfully references characters and emotions through the lyrics in his signature style.
I can't remember the last time I was so elated during a first listen to an album that I was anticipating before this one. After hearing “Tropics” and “Patagonia” before the album’s release, my expectations for it changed from what I initially envisioned that I would hear based on the mere notion of the two party's union (the vocalist has his day job with The Deftones who are known for fusing heavy metal with hip hop and the other three collaborators are ex-members of defunct post-progressive-metal band ISIS) but this LP is so much more than just a rehash of each members’ other or previous projects. In only six songs, which collectively clock in at about 47 minutes, the band manages to move from mood to mood with both subtle nuance and complete juxtaposition in song composition and structure all the while expanding on certain familiar styles from the pasts of these musicians’ bodies of work which coalesce into an all new flavor. That flavor’s name is “Awesome.”
Brian, Technology Clerk