What happens when you take three members of the now defunkt ‘ISIS‘, and throw in Chino from Deftones? ‘Palms‘ happens. There was a buzz around this project as soon as the news broke not long after ‘Isis’ split in 2010. However there had been a long wait for even a glimmer of material until recently, when the single ‘Patagonia‘ was shared with the world. Interestingly this song sounds more much like Deftones with a hint of Isis, rather than the other way round. The rest of the album however, sounds very much ¾ Isis with ¼ Deftones…. either way who cares about ratios, this album is brilliant.
‘Palms‘ manages to be somehow beautiful yet devastating all in the same breath, even more so than the two aforementioned bands, that have slowly cultivated this sound over the last 20 or so years. ‘But how can a band sound tranquil and yet crushing at the same time? How is that possible??” – just shut up, listen to this and find out.
Album opener ‘Future Warrior‘ is a belter; if you don’t like this song straight away then you almost certainly won’t get Palms, and it’s probably best to stop listening. On first listen this was my favourite track on the album. It’s exactly the sound you would expect to hear from the collective minds of Aaron Harris, Clifford Meyer, Jeff Caxide and Chino Moreno.. basically pure bliss!
‘Patagonia‘ follows and we then arrive at track 3, Mission Sunset. This one really encapsulates the whole album for me and I know I will still be playing it in the car months from now. Chino‘s voice is as great as ever and the vocal melodies really work well with the music, on all of these songs in fact. And you already know what to expect from the members of Isis. I suppose if this sounds like any of their albums, it is Panopticon. But that still doesn’t give you an idea of what to really expect here, you need to chill out and listen with some decent headphones and find out for yourself.
The riff at the end of Mission Sunset comes from nowhere, and before you’ve really had a chance to comprehend the brilliance of it, it comes to an end and we’re into ‘Shortwave Radio‘, which follows on really well. Definitely one of the growers on the album, seemingly slightly aimless and boring to begin with, but then reveals itself. The bass and drumming are both really tight on this track and they carry it well, before winding down into ‘Tropics‘ which I have to admit is the song that speaks to me the least overall. It’s very ambient but besides the section towards the end I don’t really find it that beautiful compared to other moments on the album.
‘Antarctic Handshake‘ is the final track, and perhaps the strongest track on the album. Like ‘Mission Sunset‘ it clocks in at almost ten minutes, but passes in no time at all. You can really get lost in the outro, which is so perfect an end to the album it almost makes you want to applaud like you’d just seen it live [which will hopefully be announced for later in the year; we will keep you updated]
‘PALMS‘ is as good as I hoped it would be, and will get better with more listens. If you are a fan of Isis or Deftones, you don’t need me to tell you to buy this. If you are not a fan of Isis or Deftones, this is still well worth a listen as it manages to find a more accessible space in between that feels like uncharted ground. Oh and also, Mike Patton himself co-founded Ipecac records, so if this has his blessing, then you know it’s top qual.