Palomar

    All Things, Forests

    5

    Misra Records could be a gospel label. Hell, its has bands named Evangelicals, Hallelujah the Hills, and Summer Hymns. And religious moniker or not, most Misra bands worship at the altar of heart-on-sleeve sincerity. Too bad, then, that on its first album for Misra, Palomar isn’t convincing enough to convert listeners.

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    Nothing is really horrible on All Things, Forests, but nothing much stands out, either. The album is so much passion — the vaulting harmonies of “You’re Keeping Us Up,” the searing guitars of “Beats Beat Nothing,” the big dynamic shifts of “He Came to Stay — without much direction. The lyrics are stuffed with too many hes and theys and its. In twelve tracks, I only found one reference to something concrete: the look of trees in Brooklyn, in “The Air Between Us.” There’s even a song called “Bridge of Sighs.” Sigh.

     

    When Palomar tries to fun things up a bit, the results aren’t impressive. The jauntier “Top Banana,” bouncing along on buoyant handclaps, comes of as second-rate Slumber Party. And Slumber Party is already second-rate Le Tigre.

     

    But with this many jabs at emotion, some do land. “How to Beat Dementia” makes good on its intriguing title as a contemplation on aging with dignity. And on closer “Alone,” it does strike a nerve when the band is at full throat singing “With all our complications/ We make them/ But we hate them.”

     

    On “Surprise Us,” vocalist Rachel Warren claims, “We hate the fact that we care.” Then don’t, dear. Lighten up next time.

     

    ***

    Band: http://www.palomartheband.com/

    Label: http://www.misrarecords.com/ 

    Audio: http://www.myspace.com/palomar

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