Album Reviews - Reviews

Palms – Palms


If you’ll allow me to make a quite large generalization, supergroups are by and large quite awful. To be fair there is some gold in those hills;  bands like CSNY, Cream and Bad Company are a testament to that fact. But any type of music where the self-aggrandizing Scott Weiland fest Velvet Revolver are considered to be one of the better acts, leaves little to be desired. This leaves us with Palms, a four piece made up of metal icons Chino Moreno of Deftones and Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer of ISIS. This, on paper, is a mouth watering idea. ISIS stood proudly as one of the most consistently interesting metal bands of the last decade and Chino Moreno is Chino Moreno. With a roster this good, their self-titled debut effort should have been one of the year’s best records. Sadly, the album only serves to disappoint.

Palms do achieve where many other supergroups have failed: they have their own unique sound. Too often with these bands, the music sounds like a poorly cobbled together collection of different musical styles.  Palms do it right. They take just enough from their previous efforts to stop the listener from feeling instantly alienated, whilst still moving forward enough to justify the whole endeavour. The problem is that the experiment doesn’t amount to very much and everything that they attempt has been done better before. The music on display is full of long, relatively mellow soundscapes with some heavily echoed vocals floating around the mix. It’s a valiant effort and, had this been another younger band, I’d probably have enjoyed it more. But the crew involved in this are capable of so much better.

Musically, the band has done similar tricks on Panopticon and to much greater effect. Whilst Chino, who with last year’s Koi No Yokan proved that he still had the power to blow down houses, seems to be phoning it in. It’s a shame that he does, because some of the album is really quite good. ‘Patagonia’ manages to bring Chino back to life and deliver a powerhouse performance, whilst ‘Mission Sunset’ is a sprawling beauty that perfectly fits the album’s golden hour-drenched cover art.

Overall, though, we’re left with an ok album. It has enough going for it to be decent overall, but as with most supergroup albums what remains is the lingering sense that given so much potential there surely has to be something better hidden in the mix. One has to ask the question: is this album going to be more than the sum of its parts? The answer, sadly, is no. There are just some shadows that you cannot escape from. Will Murphy

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