Palm Reader - Palm Reader
Record Label - Self-Release
Release Date - March 12, 2012
In their self-titled, debut EP, Palm Reader tell us a few things about their past, present and future – both through their lyrics and the execution of their brash-based craft. Armed with a hardcore sonic approach, buzzsaw vocals and a comfort found in the occasional catchy guitar lick, this four piece doesn’t stray away from any particular structure or expectation of the genre, yet manages to throw a few curves in the path to keep mediocrity mostly at bay.
This quick four-banger shows a few looks from the UK-based act, whether it be pouring on spurts of melodic guitar in the cracks of an effective rhythmic attack (“Seeing and Believing are Two Different Things”) or occasionally slowing the tempo down for controlled chaos in the short, slightly off target “What Are Friends For?”. The brooding introduction to “Seeing” builds perfectly into the unexpected underlying melodies brought to the first breakdown. It would work well as a chorus if this song didn’t revamp other parts enough to build familiarity, but with accent-tinged vocals and a decent amount of punching guitars, one can’t help but think of Palm Reader as some sort of Gallows offshoot – minus the huge hooks that band is capable of producing. Vocally, repetition and emotion seem to be the topics for Josh Mckeown’s rough vocal lines. Seething with angst, Mckeown gives us bits of excellence in his occasionally tough to wade through vocals. His searing holds and confident bark often help keep these tunes moving, even if he isn’t the most versatile person to do this sort of music vocally.
That isn’t to say you won’t get reeled into this EP in due time. “War Between the Head and the Heart” brings grimy melodies that morph into alt-rock riffs that still have plenty of kick in them. While a bit slicker in production than some of their contemporaries, the heart of these tracks still rings true, even when the songwriting is a bit muddled in the process. Nonetheless, ender “Fall Further” gives the EP a more straightforward finish, capping what will be for many a first impression with a nice sludgy breakdown. It is an interesting journey from front to back, as the groundwork is sometimes a bit shaky despite some often brilliant ideas inserted in the song structures.
Palm Reader’s self-titled EP certainly shows more parts promising than concerning. While more melodies certainly wouldn’t hurt the sound of the band, Palm Reader’s flexibility within their brand of aggression goes hand in hand with the enjoyment of this EP. For only four tracks, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to check these guys out if you’re into the hardcore scene.