Small Town Records
06 May 2013
by Tom Doyle
Palm Reader is an ambitious name for any band, isn’t it? The implication of being able to tell the future and the alluded to ability to therefore stay ahead of the game is a lofty claim for a quintet working in an crowded marketplace. Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence on Bad Weather that these Woking lads have enough creative spark to, if not predict the future, then certainly to have a degree of success in it.
Theirs is a brand of fizzing, punchy hardcore with nods to both the technical distinction of The Dillinger Escape Plan and the apoplectic rage of Orchestra of Wolves-era Gallows. Significant too is their ability with more expansive, mid-tempo moments which bring to mind fellow domestic bruisers-with-brains Bastions. ‘Smack Hound’ for example opens in furious style before dropping into a melee of flailing, spidering riffs backed with insistently driving drums beats, eventually settling into a bone-rattling half time breakdown of pleasingly angsty intent.
Elsewhere, the cut-and-thrust of ‘Seeing and Believing are Two Different Things’ is palpably the work of a band who know how to make every section of a song count – nothing feels overplayed, overwrought or unnecessary, and its galloping turn of pace is a joyfully unexpected jab in the gut. There’s consistency here as well. All too often bands of this ilk seem to run out of ideas by track 7 and by track 12 are revisiting territory from the opening stanzas of the album. Palm Reader neatly dodge this trap and, with the exception ‘Noble Host (Grace pt3)’ which features some needlessly tacked-on Brand New-esque melodicism (and unsurprisingly enough is the first ‘single’ from this LP), every song feels as good as the one that preceeded it.
From an imperiously strong British hardcore scene, this is another very good record which should, all being well, turn some heads. Whether or not Palm Reader have enough genuinely unique characteristics to set themselves apart from their ever-growing peer group remains to be seen but within their given framework Bad Weather is an extremely competent and at times genuinely pulse-raising album from a band who we should expect to see a great deal more of in the coming months and years.
Sounds Like: Dillinger Escape Plan, Bastions, The Chariot
Standout Tracks: Spineless, Uncomfortably Lucid