PAINTED PALMS - FOREVER [ALBUM REVIEW]
Hey, rock may be dead, but psych sure as shit ain't. Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme are filled to the brim with catchy hooks and psych jangles layered alongside sunny sonic productions. These two cousins who grew up together spent the majority of the band’s lifetime living in different states, making music via the Internet. It was during this era that Of Montreal took them out on tour in support of their first EP, Canopy, and got them signed as label-mates to Polyvinyl Records. Good for all of us that they threw their full support behind these guys. Painted Palms are now living in the same city (though still writing music via the internet), proving with their first full-length, Forever, that they aren’t fucking around and that it was all worth the wait.
The album opens up with a lush electronic soundscape behind the warbly vocals of Prudhomme on "Too High,’"which flows super smoothly into childlike synth play coupled with handclaps and tambourines on “Here it Comes.” It almost even sounds like Kevin Barnes is supplying guest vocals on the title-track “Forever,” which could fit on a number of other artists' Elephant 6 recordings. A bunch of the tracks in the middle of the album get into some of those chillwave grooves that we all loved so much when this band came around a mere three years ago. WTF happened to chillwave? Did Chaz from Toro y Moi grow up too much on us? I appreciate that Painted Palms are bringing chillwave back! Chillwavelution 2014? Jeez, I feel like such an old man talking about chillwave. Do kids today even know what chillwave is? Grandpa Chillwave is talking about weird shit again.
The real standout comes around just as it feels like the album is winding down. Lead single “Spinning Signs” kicks off with a tight swirl of a bassline that feels straight off that new Tame Impala record. The production flourishes on this track are top notch and I really hope this song hits for them so the rest of the world gets a chance to vibe these dudes as hard as I am.
My only beef with this whole album is the way it ends. I’m not saying “Angels” is a bad track. It’s very pretty and minimal and rocks an acoustic guitar (something not heard in my personal life for a long while.) It just kind of…ends. For an album with a lot of confidence and bravado, this last song goes out with a bit of a whimper. Maybe that’s the point? Maybe I’m supposed to be reminded that a lot of these songs have sad undertones and depressing lyrics. The uplifting jangle of psych can’t solve all the problems in the world. Well, this album will certainly help pass a sunny Sunday afternoon. I’ll sit on my couch with some beers and a bowl and the sun will pour through my blinds just like it does on this record.
I’m glad these dudes evolved past 2011. Let’s hope they can make it through the harsh winter. I’d sure love to have people have this album this summer.
You can stream it on Spotify or Radio and i'm sure you can buy it everywhere where you can buy music digitally these days (iTunes / Amazon) but why don't you just man up and pay for the Digital Album or LP/CD + MP3 on their Bandcamp and put as much of the money back into their pockets as you can.
For more listening, scope out their mix of inspirations:
About Kurt Kroeber
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.