Wild Palms - Until Spring (2011)


Wild Palms are one of those bands that have been around for a while, but have still remained under the radar. With the release of 'Until Spring', produced by Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Depeche Mode, These New Puritans), they should get the critical acclaim they deserve.

On numerous occasions Wild Palms have been described as a post-punk band but this seems easy and an undeserving way to categorize them. They're more of a carefully crafted melancholic band. The tracks on 'Until Spring', in a nutshell, are pretty lo-fi, sombre and smooth, and this offers an absolutely beautiful, and mellow soundtrack to the moody winter months. Like a very alcoholic cocktail and a warm breeze, instead of knitwear and a hot toddy.

The album opener "Draw In Light" has a striking minimalistic riff with the addition of enchanting lyrics. It's powerfully understated, and this fortunately flows throughout the album. "Caretaker" begins with hypnotic drumming, and then layers of guitars on top creating a pretty, yet technical sound. Much like "The (never-ceasing-ever-increasing) Cavalcade" which, as the lyrics say, "the drums pound and the whistles blow" the impact is almost mesmerizing, something you would expect from a band like These New Puritans. "Pale Fire" is definitely one of the stand-out tracks on the album, creating a tranquil and chilled out ambience - something perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

"LHC" is charming with the understated piano and violin. It is undoubtedly a stunning ballad. This LP is totally commanding that less is more, and "Swirling Shards" is modestly mesmeric, yet the imposing, alluring chorus lingers, whilst "Delight In Temptation" is one with a catchy chorus and crafty guitar playing.

Songs idle, twist and sprawl just this side of self-indulgence ("Not Wing Clippers" for example is fourteen minutes long) and have a dusky lustre to them. Guitar effects billow, distortion becomes arrangement and bass has the brassy tone and simplicity of every indie outfit from The Smiths to New Order. The vocals are emotive but sound as if there is little to the frame that produces them - and so come the choruses where Lou Hill’s voice soars and holds its own against squalls of guitar it is a pleasantly emotional surprise.

Wild Palms have produced an album that paradoxically manages to sound fresh and individual whilst at the same time being shot through with the spirit of a much earlier scene and have distilled all the ideas, sidesteps and progressions of the last two years into one glorious suite of songs.


Wild Palms
Until Spring
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1. Drawn In Light
2. Caretaker
3. Delight In Temptation
4. Pale Fire
5. LHC
6. Carnations
7. Swirling Shards
8. The (never - ceasing - ever - increasing) Cavalcade
9. To the Lighthouse
10. Not Wing Clippers

Music label: 
One Little Indian
United Kingdom
Average: 3.3 (7 votes)
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