In case you haven’t heard; PALMS is the collaboration between members of Isis (Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer) and the very talented front man of Deftones (Chino Moreno).
However, it’s not what you would expect from such a collaboration. To do the record justice, I would recommend that you don’t try pre-empt how you would expect this collaboration should sound…
If you keep an open mind, this album creates a magical sound-scape in your head that can take you on a journey. If you expect it to sound like a mash of an Isis and a Deftones record – you may be disappointed.
The album opens up with the (almost) eight minute track; Future Warrior. This is a strong album opener showcasing warm atmospheric verses and a solid chorus pay-off that paves the way for the rest of the album. Flowing on perfectly from the tone set in Future Warrior is the track Patagonia. The guitar work on this track makes you feel like you’re floating and could quite easily create a perfect setting for a beach side road trip or summer chill out.
The third track (Mission Sunset) dances with a slightly darker vibe and incorporates hints of some hard rock roots and tones. It’s a well crafted-song and a fresh change up at just the right point of the album. Following Mission Sunset’s massive ending of soaring vocals, epic guitars and big drums is Shortwave Radio. While Shortwave Radio provides some interesting moments of tasteful drumming, melody and guitar work, it’s probably the weakest on the album. It feels long for the sake of being long and a little disjointed. You also tend to lose the hypnotic state the rest of the album has you in.
The album finishes strong however, with Tropics followed by the more mellow journey of Antarctic Handshake. Tropics feels more cohesive and deliberate than some other tracks, especially in terms of how the vocals gel with the rest of the instruments.
Each track really needs a couple of listens to take in and appreciate the detail. While this album was recorded by elite musicians, I found the mix and master of the album to be dominated by high tones and trebles which are a little uncomfortable and distracting in moments.
While it may not please everyone, overall PALMS is a very compelling album which takes you on a majestic journey through atmospheric sound-scapes. It is best experienced through a good set of headphones in a quiet location, where you can close your eyes and get lost in the moment.
Best track(s): Future Warrior & Mission Sunset.
Highlights: Atmospheric guitar work.
Apparent Genre(s): Rock, Post-Rock, Alternative.
Chino Moreno and Aaron Harris of Palms Talk “Future Warrior”