By Holly Hearn
Album: Shadow Expert
Release Date: June 16, 2017
Label: Carpark Records
Cacophony has never sounded sweeter than on the most recent release of Philly’s own art rock-quartet, Palm. Released June 2017, the LP Shadow Expert follows the band”s previous 2015 album, Trading Basics, where the band embraced art rock and musical dissonance. Punk percussion and harsh guitar are balanced with dreamy vocals on Shadow Expert for Palm to tell a story through the LP. Palm will be playing at Mohawk in Austin as part of their Shadow Expert tour with Palberta on July 17.
In less than a month following its release, opening track “Walkie Talkie” has become Palm’s most played song on Spotify, followed by “Time Times Three” from Trading Basics. “Walkie Talkie” features a harsh call-and-response style between guitarists Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt, creating a sound reminiscent of actual walkie-talkies. Title track “Shadow Expert” follows, and introduces sweet and dreamy vocals from Alpert. According to Pitchfork, none of the members of Palm are formally trained in their respective instruments, and this allowed each musician to develop a sound unique to themselves. This musical aspect is extremely apparent in “Two Toes”, a track that showcases each member’s unique and specific style.
Meanwhile, “Walnut” is a masterfully crafted art-rock song with syncopated beats from the drummer, Hugo Stanley, to disturb listening just the right amount. Alpert reclaims vocals from Kurt in “Trying”, which features the same chatty, yet jarring, guitar conversation that opens the album. “Signal to Signal” closes out the EP with dreamy vocals noticeably juxtaposed by harsh, clashing guitars. Each song is notably conversational in itself, but further their songs seems to comment on preceding ones. This makes Shadow Expert a work to be listened to entirely and in sequence.