Huddersfield 3-piece Palmes, have changed their sound significantly over the last 18 months or so. From Oslo, to TV, to El Capitano and beyond, the West Yorkshire outfit have been trying to perfect their distinct sound. This January, the band release their debut EP, 18A, signalling a level of content from the band that they have. for now at least. settled on the sound that suits them.
Opener, For You And I, was the first single from the EP, reviewed by Halfway 2 Nowhere towards the end of last year. The bands most comprehensive release to date at the time of release, the song kicks off the six track EP with prowess and an indie buzz that’s missing from a lot of new releases at the moment.
Capsize and Smokescreen are tracks that crept into more recent live Palmes shows, replacing the earlier efforts such as TV and Oslo. If you ask us, they are phenomenal swaps as these two tracks are, arguably, the best written so far by the band. If you’ve ever been to a Palmes show, you’ll notice the commitment, and effort put in by drummer Callum Taylor; one of our qualms with the band is that they rarely bring through Taylor’s drums on track and they often get lost within the music. On Capsize though, the driving force is the beat running throughout, complemented by vocalist Ryan Smith.
Smokescreen is Palmes’ most ambitious and best track recorded so far in their career. It sounds like a chart topper right from the off. Smith’s vocals are on point and stretched to the top of his range; Taylor’s drums add depth to the track and bassist Ash brings the whole track together wonderfully. The final outro is a fantastic piece of music and you almost never want it to stop. Brilliant track.
Whilst track 3 Bygones is the stand out experimental track on the album, it fails to reach the dizzying heights of Capsize and Smokescreen. Smith brings the tone right down with Bygones and shows a different side to Palmes. Not completely to our taste but a nice addition to the EP nevertheless. Similarly, EP closer Tourism (remix) doesn’t quite hit the mark for us – Tourism was one of 2017’s best releases in the UK and playing with it doesn’t sit well with me! That being said, I bet it’s a grower.
No doubt about it, the highlight of any recent Palmes live set is track 5, Colouring Between the Lines. Crowd participation on the “oh-woah-oh-oh-oh-wooaahh” part brings alive the set on stage. On track though, the song is taken to a new level and the mix that the lads have done to create the track is exceptional. The instrumental section allow the band to do exactly what they do best, play with sounds and riffs to create real music you can get lost in. There is no song that allows Palmes this freedom more on this EP than Colouring Between the Lines.
Overall, 18A is a brilliant set of songs. From the start it’s in your face indie-dance music that makes you feel happy. Go get yourself a copy, play it loud and let’s give this band everything they deserve in 2018!