Album Review: Painted Palms – Horizons

Painted Palms – Horizons

Published by JB on August 29, 2015

Release date: September 4, 2015

7/10

Mixed by former DFA house engineer Eric Broucek, the second Painted Palms album is the 40-minute dance album you could just feel they were leading up to.   Where their excellent predecessor (2014’s outstanding Forever) was concentrated on more varied pop structures and melodies, the new Horizons is all about the beats.   From start to finish, it has the unavoidable sense of a remix album, making the listener wonder if there’s a ‘normal’ version out there that might have an acoustic guitar or something else in the mix.   The flashing neon lights and kinetic beat of Horizons never turns off.  Tracks that fundamentally sound like they should be slowed down still are setup to blow out subwoofers.   Even the titles scream of pulsating dance tunes: ‘Refractor’, ‘Echoes’, ‘Gemini’, ‘Tracers’. Bedside, pillowtalk ballads these are not.

Where Painted Palms has excelled the past few years is with an innate ability to 20140628_PaintedPalms_D7k_98incorporate tremendous hooks into their songwriting.   All tracks, either mid-tempo or not, contained a musical hook (‘Water Hymn’) that gravitated the listener to the track.   That talent is still employed on Horizons but to a less varied degree.

You can sample and purchase Horizons right Here.

The albums centerpiece is the vibrating, scintillating ‘Disintegrate’.  It’s four and a half minutes of sonic, pop perfection.  The type of track that Passion Pit or MGMT can’t pull off consistently.  It’s not too fevered and it has just the right amount of head-bobbing vibe that makes it one of the most engaging tracks of all 2015, by any band.  True, ‘Disintegrate’ sounds like a remixed version of a more scaled down original track, but in this instance the album version is the master.

Vocal reverbs, and chanting harmonies permeate the entire album, albeit probably too much.  At what first sounds original ends up being redundant by the album closer ‘Tracers’.   Nevertheless, Painted Palms has reached the edge of this cliff and it will be interesting to watch them step back and add new instrumentation to their next effort.   Following the path that Ernest Greene did with Washed Out’s beautiful Paracosm (after the sexy, grooving smash Within and Without blew us away) is a predictable and hopeful move forward for the Palms.

Pics + Review:  Painted Palms in Minneapolis – June 2014.

–TWTHS

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