The London based Indie Rock outlet Palma Violets broke through to the mainstream with their debut album 180, released in 2013, after a successful lead single and significant promotion from the likes of NME. Comparisons have been drawn from the likes of The Libertines, The Strokes, and the whole Garage-Rock revival. Admittedly, I was not a fan of 180, nor the actually quite catchy ‘Best of Friends’. However, I’m not one to dismiss something immediately, so I decided to give their sophomore album, Danger in the Club a listen, to see how the band developed their sound over the last two years.
But here’s the big problem with Palma Violets; they haven’t developed their sound. Anyone of these new songs could have been pulled from 180, spruced up a bit with some cleaner production and slapped onto this record under the guise of ‘new material’. The music is sloppy, lazy, boring, but passed off as ‘Garage Rock’ or ‘Alt Rock’. There is a significant lack of diversity between tracks, all following a similar pattern of raucous guitars, some poorly placed keyboard and awful, awful lyrics.
Opening with the unnecessary ‘Sweet Violets’, the band surge into ‘Hollywood (I Got It)’ with some God awful shouts which might pass off singing if I hadn’t listened to any other music for the rest of my life. Accompanying this come the meaningless, 2D lyrics that sounds like something you’d expect to find on a 13 year old’s first song. For example:
‘I got Hollywood in my bones (x4)
I got Holly
‘Girl, You Couldn’t Do Much Better on the Beach’ is a song The Libertines would have written if they were totally all out of ideas, with the song petering out after only two minutes, the band clearly too lazy to give it a decent ending. The title track sounds like ‘Come On Eileen’ without the mass appeal, although it’s not hard to picture the lyrical hook being shouted out by drunk university societies all across the country.
Perhaps one of the most offensive songs on this album though is ‘The Jacket Song’, the obligatory ‘acoustic number’. It comes across as poor man’s ‘Radio America’, with none of the charm nor wit of The Libertines; you can slur your words and sing slightly out of tune all you like, it won’t make you Peter Doherty. The second half of the album is much of a muchness. In fact I’m finding it hard to think of any features of these songs that make them particularly good. It just all seems to blend into one big bore fest, each song sounding like a poor imitation of the last.
But is there anything I actually like about this album? For the majority of these tracks, no; there’s absolutely nothing I find appealing about them. The best track is easily ‘Gout! Gang! Go!’ because it sounds vaguely like something from Aha Shake Heartbreak. There are a couple of points in ‘Matador’ which are slightly ok, but that’s about it.
Perhaps one of the worst things about this album is the fact that Palma Violets continue to gain popularity simply because of being plugged by certain well known media sources. The reality is there are for more exciting bands out there who aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Instead we’re left with a lazy, half-arsed, poor excuse for ‘new music’ that sounds like it was recorded in an afternoon. Palma Violets better actually up their game on their next record, or they’re going nowhere.
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