Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Album Review: Palm - Rock Island

Rock Island
**and1/2 out of *****

The four piece Palm are an ambitious art-rock group from Philly whose whacked out newest release Rock Island is a mind altering dose of bizarre.

The group likes to claim it "plays rock music backwards" and the opening "Pearly" clearly sets that tone as it oddly starts with digital beats and swirling sounds that twist around through out the track. Disjointed but still appealing the song finds guitarist/vocalist Eve Alpert singing softly as the music shifts around her. "Composite" is more of a straight ahead 60's ballad until a rapid tempo change that moves the backing music frantically forward, then shifts back to slow, back to fast back to slow all around Kasra Kurt's sweet singing; this is ADD music.

That can't-sit-still feeling is every year, there is rarely a groove that lasts, and while off putting and headache inducing at times, this adventurous programming and playing can also be rewarding for those willing to give it a go. Think of a sedated version of  Man Man and you are in the ballpark.

The MIDI effects for "Dog Milk" have calypso steel drums mixing with its twitching snares as it builds but also repeats ad nauseam.  "Forced Hand" clatters and bangs behind the breathy vocals as the cacophony never stops and that free jazz like playing is also present on the upbeat "Color Code" which uses sound effects to freak things out even more. The Rock Island in the title seems tropical as the theme flowing throughout (and on "Theme From Rock Island") is light, slightly whimsical and airy with Caribbean overtones.

It is impossible to recommend Rock Island to everyone as some people like to now exactly where their music is taking them, but for fans of "out there" art pop/rock you will want to book a ticket to Palm's Rock Island.
Support the band, buy their album on bandcamp and peep some video below:

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