The reunion of three fifths of post-metallers Isis alone is something to raise intrigue and hunger but add Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno into the mix and that appetite takes on a more voracious stance. It also ignites wondering expectations as to which direction their sound and presence together as Palms would take, the heavier more rapaciously intrusive fascination of Isis or the experimental atmospheric devouring of Moreno’s day job. The self-titled debut reveals it is somewhere in between whilst exploring its own evocative and enthralling soundscapes.
With Aaron Harris, Clifford Meyer, and Jeff Caxide alongside Moreno, Palms came together by chance in many ways, the three Los Angeles based musicians after months apart from the demise of their previous band coming together just to play music. With things taking on an appealing proposition in sound and promise the trio looked for a vocalist and knowing Moreno was an Isis fan, Aaron mentioned to him what they were doing which led to both sides suggesting his contribution. Whatever your taste in regard to Deftones and his other projects such as Team Sleep it is fair to say the unique and mesmeric tones of Moreno takes music into deeper reflective and emotive corners, and it is no exception on this release.
From the opening gentle winds of ‘Future Warrior’, the album nestles deeply into thoughts and emotions, its smouldering seduction stroking the psyche and senses with captivating weaves of melodic textures and colour enriched ambiences. The track soothes the ear with warm compelling keys and equally hypnotic rhythms whilst guitars draw their own visual narrative and emotions with expected impressive craft and invention. As Moreno unveils his lyrical emotive cryptography you kind of visualise a lone melancholic yet hope drenched figure within a sonic sunset of fiery hues, it is a vague interpretative imagery which could be applied to the whole release and its impassioned landscape.
The excellent start leads into ‘Patagonia’, the track’s star lit skies watching down on a wash of searching sentiment and enthralling sonic design, before the equally absorbing ‘Mission Sunset’ wraps its chilling yet magnetic arms around senses and thoughts. Both songs bring an exploration of not only themselves and lyrical calls but of the emotions of the listener too with the second of the pair a sizzling temptress as intimidating and passionately caustic as it is seductively mesmeric.
Through the sepia clouded ‘Shortwave Radio’ and ‘Tropics’ with its slow burning sultriness,Palms continue to tempt with incandescent enterprise and mastery, both songs raising fires burning with fervour whilst torridly emotional caresses stroke tenderly, whilst the closing ‘Antarctic Handshake’ brings a sluggish bewitching radiance across every receptive atom of its recipient. It ends what is a sublime encounter, and one which emerges more impressive with every listen. It is an album which at times does feed expectations but has just as many powerful surprises and imaginative avenues too, Palms is a real and maybe unexpected treat.