When you become legendary for live performances, it’s probably a good idea to stick to that formula. Palma Violets second album Danger In The Club does exactly that.
Danger In The Club is packed with the type of raw energy only familiar to those that have participated in a mosh pit filled with punk ass teenagers. The entire album feels like it could double as the soundtrack to drunken hooligans filing out of a college sporting event. Chanting choruses, thumping drums and loose guitar riffs act like a shot gunned beer of rage, straight through your ears and to the brain.
There were a few changes I would have made, on this and future albums, like less of the duel vocal moments of bassist Chilli Jesson and lead guitarist Sam Fryer. I enjoy those like I enjoy synthesizers and heroin – in small doses. It adds to the emotion and power when used sparingly, but when over-saturated, the effect could sound like a sloppy night of karaoke gone horribly wrong. And Palma Violets are too good for that.
Their debut album, 180, laid the groundwork for this, slightly more polished, sophomore effort. 180 bursts out of the gate with some undeniable classics like “Best of Friends” and “Rattlesnake Highway” resulting in no confusion for what kind of show you will be getting. Over the course of about two years, Palma Violets toured playing their first album at any venue that would have them. They would leave a smoldering trail of destruction in their wake, all while picking up some obvious American Folk influence you can hear on their new album. They built a reputation of having a raging live show and they always delivered what was expected.
From that reputation comes their anticipated second album, Danger In The Club. It hits on a very similar vibe as their debut, which some may see as a detriment for a band, but I see it as doing exactly what any great band would kill to do: stay young.
Anything a musician experiences in their career can come back around – riches, fame, love, power, passion, insight, heartbreak, addiction, poverty – but the one that will never come back is youth. Youth is what inspires so many to write the incredible songs that can only come from a feeling of being indestructible. The soaring optimism of “Live Forever,” the unbridled exuberance of “Born to Run,” and the sexual desire of “Light My Fire,” are all songs born out of youth and could NEVER capture that feeling again in their careers (especially not Morrison). Palma Violets recognize the benefit of staying youthful for one more album and ran with it. They will have plenty of time to write songs that make us ponder the meaning of life, but in the meantime, let’s capture our youth and hold on for a little longer. Let’s go see Palma Violets play live. Let’s make some memories and bad decisions. Oh, and don’t forget to have a few drinks.
Danger In The Club – The title track and first single delivers on all points of what we would expect from them. It’s an incredible groove that culminates with a vicious harmonica solo to give that extra feeling of chaos. They pull off the duel vocals to perfection here. A song about, I think, that one guy we all know who turns into a liability when he lets loose and has a bit too much to drink. Added bonus for the final “lyric” that perfectly exemplifies their somewhat dreary English roots, “We can go outside, I think it’s stopped rainin.” But why go outside when you are having so much fun inside?
The Jacket Song – A perfect example of what they can do when they stick to just one singer for the track. His voice wouldn’t win the next American Idol, but it doesn’t have to. They both have unique vocal talent they can showcase on their own. The Jacket Song is also a nice ballad of incredibly detailed aspects of the little things we take for granted. It borders on being a stalkers manifesto but with a genuine innocence to prove the admiration is real…and non-murderous.
English Tongue – A real throwback to some American Folk roots. The opening few chords give a much heavier Dylan-esque “Positively 4th Street” sound, always a good choice. Although the American influence is heavy, it’s has enough English attitude to feel original and new.
SCORE*: 7.3219 out of 10
Palma Violets are playing The Loving Touch on May 14th!
Watch the video for “English Tongue”
Watch the video for “Danger In The Club”
*I find it ridiculous to give ratings on albums, mostly because it’s completely arbitrary to give a rating one person would feel as opposed to another. However, we all know we like to have a rating with everything. With that in mind, I am making my scores as silly as possible but still give an idea of how much I liked it.