Odd Palace

One Step Closer

Written by: PP on 17/04/2021 21:01:25

The first time I heard Odd Palace was when they released their EP in 2015. Back then, they were still in the process of discovering their sound with a soundscape that sourced most of itself from The Mars Volta before their experimentalist and Latin years. To an extent, the same could be said about debut album "Things To Place On The Moon", but on sophomore album "One Step Closer" there's a distinct feeling that the band is growing into their sound.

Stylistically, the record finds itself within the same genre cocktail as before, somewhere between progressive rock and alternative rock, with few elements incorporated from metal and even album-oriented rock (think Foreigner, Rush, or Journey on e.g. the title rack or "Nowhere To Be Found"). The latter is where I feel Odd Palace are at their weakest, producing a too atmospheric, too dramatic of a soundscape for their own good. Instead, they should focus on material like "Flammable Idea", which is effectively an alternative rock song with strong progressive rock undertones. It's complex and challenging, yet accessible and catchy enough to draw in crowds from both genres. The same goes for "Gone", which just like "Flammable Idea" relies on Gert Børsting's confident, powerful delivery that gives the song staying power. Here, we're admittedly closer to The Mars Volta again, but that is where the band are at their best.

On "Distance" and "Forward", we get a glimpse of the technical, intricate fretwork their guitarist is capable of. Here, we meet what is rather typical for Prime Collective bands: a sense of metallic credibility alongside a pop-laden chorus melody. This approach works reasonably well because of the crisp, polished production and the aggressive lining that the instrumentals provide for the otherwise clean vocals.

My only concern for "One Step Closer" is whether there are enough great songs on the record? The few I've mentioned here are solid, but not exactly instant attention grabbers that could warrant international success. More worryingly, there's quite a lot of material here that feels like filler: songs that are just there, following Odd Palace's signature style progressive alternative rock format (coming back to my original point about finding their own sound), but don't leave an impression on the listener. "Remains", "Echoes" and the AOR-style tracks, in general, are examples of this. So "One Step Closer" is essentially a mixed bag of some quality material, but a little too inconsistent especially when compared to the debut.

Download: Flammable Idea, Gone, Forward
For the fans of: The Mars Volta, Karnivool,
Listen: Facebook

Release date 30.10.2020
Prime Collective

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