Palma Violets


Written by: HES on 18/10/2013 11:45:19

London-based Palma Violets have been nominated by BBC for "Sound of 2013" which is kind of a surprise, as the band more fits the "Sound of the 70's" and while they're praised in their home country, I am struggling to find this band completely relevant. While the band was only formed in 2011, they spare no reference to British Garage Rock - their sound is raw, unpolished and lo-fi. The question is whether being completely dead on the genre is a hallmark or an obstruction?

Album opener "Best of Friends" rolls through the speakers as if under water. The echoing of especially guitars and vocals immediately takes you to a rather depressed place as vocalist Samuel Thomas Fryer cries out "I wanna be your best friend. I don't want you to be my girl". At first Fryer's voice is more melodic and polished than your average garage-rock frontman, but as we get to the aforementioned chorus, he manages to perform the classic "yelp" of the genre to perfection.

The lyrical universe of "180" is a classic "youth with no future", anti-establishment kind of naivety. Managing this very limited scope of material is always borderlining a juvenile rant and honestly Palma Violets don't always walk the line of this concept too well. It becomes especially obvious on songs like "14" where the lyrics sarcastically go "I've got a brand new song. It's gonna be number one it is". The success of garage rock is probably this naivety and nonchalance, but also mainly because "not-caring" about the normal standards of musical elements such as the craft of playing an instrument, singing beautifully and writing poetically had not been challenged up until that point. They attempted a revolt. But to revolt requires something to revolt against, and these days not-caring about music comes through the radio waves every day in the form of even Rebecca Black's and Carly Rae Jepsen's. In other words, what is the relevance of doing something that has become so exhausted, that it is now the mainstream? In my eyes the revolt in today's society would be to create something more meaningful, intrinsic and mind boggling.

But apart from this question of lyrical relevance - the band actually manages to lift themselves from the genre in songs such as "Chicken Dippers", with its deconstructed, drum fueled intro supported by organ keys. Unfortunately it doesn't take from the general impression of this album's lack of personality and ground breaking. But the thing is that not all bands aspire to be more than this, and if you accept the premise of not expecting more from "180" than a bit of shits and giggles, it's not hard to feel at least mildly entertained. The looseness of it all and the unfinished parts of the album - trait or error may it be - is to some extend even charming. I wouldn't however name this "The Sound of 2013" and I sadly predict that their lack of relevance will make the band one easy forgotten.


Download: Best of Friends, Johnny Bagga' Donuts, 3 stars
For The Fans Of: The Clash, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Release Date 25.02.2013
Rough Trade

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI