Palms is a new-wrought classic that demands it live with pride in every record collection.
The combination of Isis and The Deftones‘ Chino Moreno seems quite obvious in many musical ways, despite The Deftones being *cough* a bit more well known. From ‘Future Warrior’ (the first track) onwards we’re given a parallax vision of what each group was actually about.
Isis were known for their post-metal anthems and, according to guitarist Aaron Turner, being ‘thinking man’s metal’. In Palms the guitar-based visionary forces of Turner and Gallagher are absent, leaving space for, ahem, the ‘feeling man’s metal’ to come to fore. One thing that has more prominence in Palms than in Isis is the drums. Never usually considered the vessel of emotion in a band, within Palms drums seem to exist as the lead instrument, practically supported by all other instruments including Moreno.
Having been engineered and mixed by (drummer) Harris no doubt helped in achieving this cohesion, and makes the record sonically remarkable. The emphasis on tight contrapuntal instrumentation elevates Palms as one of THE records of 2013.
A key element of the record is the swapping of the distortion pedal for chorus and delay which, played with a percussive guitar technique, gives the record the timeless feel of records by This Mortal Coil, Talk Talk, and the hugely underrated Aereogramme (who did a split LP with Isis in 2009). Which dovetails almost too easily with Moreno’s love of 80s era UK indie and as a result gives some of the best performances of his career.
Stand-out tracks ‘Future Warrior’, ‘Shortwave’ and ‘Mission Sunset’ rank as some of the best epic rock committed to record and fans of Vinyl will be pleased to hear that James Plotkin mastered the vinyl version.
It’s sad that Palms is in some ways a side project for the musicians involved because there is so much promise here and in the record’s restraint and poise, it demands repeated listening.
Buy it on vinyl.
Out now on Ipecac, or via Amazon (below)
Editor, founder, fan.