Album Review Palma Violets - 1804 Stars
The kind of howling exuberance that could make even the most cynical want to join in.
Palma Violets’ ascent was notable, they said, strange. ‘Best Of Friends’, the first recorded output and first single from the south Londoners came after they’d secured a notoriously riotous live reputation; after they’d got themselves a considerable and dedicated fan base. You know – in that way that used to seem completely bloody normal?
Have you ever found yourself running down a city street after dark, giggling while drinking the most dubious form of alcohol you could find in the closest corner shop? Felt you could take on the world; the glorious fuzzy half-way point between sobriety and otherwise, like time stood still? Been in a dark, damp club, music blaring when OH GOD, OH GOD THAT SONG I MUST DANCE NOW? ‘180’ is a bit like that.
It’s named after the band’s base in a Lambeth house. But, rather than coming across as the exclusive club house to which only a select few belong; it’s more like a drop-in centre. Palma Violets’ deliciously raggedy rock is enveloping. If scratchy guitars and lolloping drums could give hugs, these would be the sweatiest, messiest, yet most kind-hearted type. ‘Best Of Friends’ boasts of innocence, ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’ a calling-card to sometime outsiders. Even the dreadfully-named ‘Chicken Dippers’ and ‘Johnny Bagga’ Donuts’ shimmer with howling exuberance.
But it’s not all short-sharp scruffy punk: closer ‘14’ verges on the epic, though thankfully never leaving the record’s basement leanings behind, and proves the record’s greatest earworm. Then it’s left to true closer – secret track ‘Brand New Song’ – to leave a grin on even the most cold-hearted of listeners. “I’ve got a brand new song,” they tell us. “It’s gonna be a Number One.” The quartet’s puppy-dog eyes might not be pictured, but you’ve got to will them on.
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