Palma Violets were one of those bands that were always going to be a disappointment. I remember my heart sinking when I heard ‘Best Of Friends’ after hearing about how they were the most exciting new act to come out of Britain. They sounded like revivalists of the sound The Libertines brought in the early 2000s but without any hint of the great song-writing. They were spearheading the next wave of Indie bands which requires you to have a quick tongue and choruses that are built to be belted out by the lads in a pub.
The thing about their debut is that although it seemed juvenile and silly, the band did have a precise vision for the album. When they finished touring it in 2014, they were fresh out of ideas and headed to many different people for advice including the person who helped a shy Radiohead with their second album, John Leckie. The result is an album that trudges through their songs each searching for their own identity. Everything composition on this album is written to sound like it should be something grand yet sounds like an album of ideas patched together without a care. None of the songs are particularly long yet about halfway through so many of them Palma Violets decide to go on a rampage of breakdowns. These breakdowns and musical passages aren’t exciting, they feel more like musical filler.
Something Palma Violets have never given is a care. Their first album was scrappy and un-comprising, and in many ways their new one is as well. But this time it’s too its detriment. Palma violets take blatant influence from other punk acts who sound more like they belong in a pun than ever. The actual playing on this album sounds sloppy and rarely sounds like anything more than background noise like on the track and the vocal performances are even worse. The band said they’ve been worked extremely hard by Leckie on this album yet the vocals on ‘Matador’ sound like the howls of someone who’s given everything they can before and can’t be bothered with it any more. The vocal effects they use that are typical of the punk inspired bands of today only make this worse as it drains so much character from the vocals. ‘Secrets Of America’ has them pouring their influence of The Libertines into their music even more-so than before but with far less charisma.
It’s not like Palma Violets are really saying anything in particular on this album either. Most of these songs are about girls, but not in a way of longing after them or getting over them; but in a lazy way of not caring if they exist or not or even wishing that they didn’t exist. There’s no relatability in songs like the title track – no wit about them, and not even any social commentary on how we perceive women as men. It’s just boring, narrow-minded and above all, lazy. Which is a feeling that persists throughout the entirety of Palma Violets new album.
Best Tracks: English Tongue