This Burnt Palms article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall.
It’s time to fill your ears with fuzzy, buzzy vibes. ‘Back On My Wall’ sees Californian rock quartet Burnt Palms getting even rawer, even cracklier than they sounded on previous releases. They’ve always had this edge-driven, lo-fi sound, but they’ve taken it to new heights here; and so you may ask, how nice does it sound?
To answer your question – it’s not sounding bad at all, in fact, it’s pretty evident that Burnt Palms are having a lot of fun on this album. You can tell that they have a lot of freedom in the way that their music sounds, and also in the compositions, full of basic chord progressions and easy-breezy vocal melodies. Take a song like ‘31’, some of the lyrics are a little fierce, but the likeable, smiley-emoticon style of instrumentation and structure makes it seem like this should be the theme song to the Burnt Palms variety television show; though it must be said, the show doesn’t exist.
That generally-used guitar is so strange; it packs a mighty fine punch of its own, but it has a very ‘individual’ kind of quality, almost as if it doesn’t fit in with the other instruments. For the most part you can look past this, though it’s quite evident as soon as it kicks in with the opener ‘Never Met You’. As a landfill of fuzzy wreckage, when all instruments come together, the result is often pretty impressive, when the guitar sound goes from ‘weird crunch’ to ‘beautiful distortion’ and drums hammer away, the album is a real blast, particularly on songs like ‘Fold’ and ‘Nothing To Me’.
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Lyrically, the album deals with a lot of basic life problems, at least that’s the way it seems. Love, breakups, all that fun stuff. In the song ‘Over’, the line “I cut my hair to get over you” is sung, well, we’ve all been there. But that kind of slight uniqueness is welcomed, and it’s not like the overall casual lyrical display isn’t welcomed either, if anything it complements the basic music beautifully.
There is a bit of an issue in the production, but it doesn’t show up that often. It’s most noticeable in the chorus of ‘Be Mine’; it’s hard to say whether it’s intentional or not, but as the volume dips; it gets oddly quieter. Maybe it was some sort of stylistic effect, but it’s pretty distracting regardless.
A few songs get lost in the shuffle, which isn’t great for such a short album, but on a whole, ‘Back On My Wall’ accomplishes everything it sets out to do; it’s raw, melodic, and a lot of fun.
‘Back On My Wall’ is out now via WWNBB Collective.