Since forming in New York in 2012, Palm has honed in on a sound that feels simultaneously zany and dazed. The four-piece execute their off-kilter rhythms, erratic structural changes, and sporadically stereophonic shifts in color with a peculiar precision. Yet the tropical, MIDI-triggered percussion, washed out guitar treble, and hazy vocals also give Palm's music a sense of relaxed detachment.
The track "Forced Hand," from their recently released album Rock Island, exemplifies this dichotomy. Guitarists Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt play off each other in fitful dissonance, while drummer Hugo Stanley encases their rhythmic complexities in accentuated borders. Meanwhile, Alpert's cloudy vocals seem to beckon a dubby bassline from Gerasimos Livitsanos, who ultimately gives in to the ensemble's angularity.
Whether or not it's intentional, Palm definitely play into the art-rock vibe that suggests something not quite academic, and at the same time not really punk and not really prog. Palm takes a dreamy, indie trendiness that is, perhaps, otherwise overdone and tired, and twists it around into a post-genre shape, as angular as it is amorphous. —Emili Earhart