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Palms: Palms

There's a funny moment in the movie Clueless in which Cher (Alicia Silverstone) dismisses the musical tastes of college students. Walking in on her half-brother Josh, she asks, "What is it about college and cry-baby music?" It's a good question. Obviously, there's no good answer (and the question itself is really more an observation than anything else). And yet, I can't help but think that she was possibly on to something, especially as I listen to this debut release by Palms.

Don't misunderstand; this isn't an overly whiny album and it certainly isn't played in that exhausting emotive style of certain 90s bands, but it comes close. It even has a rather predictable quality from start to finish, one that basically establishes a mellow mood only to lift it up to something slightly more elevated. The highs and lows of each song stay within the same mellow range, never quite exploring any other space or any other emotions. It makes for good background listening, something for studying or light cleaning, but as something more than that it's just too overly wrought. Sure, the music is played well and the vocals sound pretty good, but why don't they rise above the moderate tempo, the sustained guitar tones, and the earnest vocals? Moreover, why do the vocals sound like they are filtered through some kind of studio effect? I do have to pay tribute to Aaron Harris's drumming, though. From start to finish, he was crisp and tight, creative and vibrant, a bright spot in a drab landscape.

Palms, as many readers probably know already, is made up of three former members of Isis and also Chino Moreno of the Deftones. Both bands are pretty good and have lots of fans anxiously awaiting this new release, hoping that it will deliver on the promise of each band's respective talents. At times it probably does, but the mixture just doesn't seem to be anything else than Isis with Chino Moreno on vocals. Maybe this isn't a bad thing, but why did it have to be exactly that? Why couldn't its reach exceed its grasp?

Track Listing:
1. Future Warrior
2. Patagonia
3. Mission Sunset
4. Shortwave Radio
5. Tropics
6. Antarctic Handshake

Added: June 25th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1777
Language: english

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