Palm Reader – Bad Weather

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Review by Greg Cadman

Small Town Records

If the title of this album didn’t make it obvious enough, Palm Reader‘s debut album isn’t exactly designed to be the soundtrack to your summer escapades. Instead, it’s a collection of moody hardcore tunes straight from the bowels of Woking (never thought you’d read that, eh?). After the obligatory intro song, ‘Spineless’ sets things in motion with noodly licks and Josh Mckeown’s emotive yelling. ‘Smack Hound’ and ‘Seeing and Believing Are Two Different Things’ (which originally appeared on last year’s self-titled EP) keep the ball rolling, occasionally offering the odd curveball to keep things from becoming too formulaic, but generally this doesn’t stray too far from what we’ve come to expect of the genre.

This album showcases a variety of influences from mathcore and post-hardcore, includings nods to the likes of Stray from the Path, Every Time I Die and the UK’s own Architects. Later on the album you’ll hear some clear inspiration from bands like Touche Amore and Defeater who channel a more melodic but emotionally charged approach to hardcore. This is most evident in the final two tracks, ‘Noble Host (Grace pt. 3)’ and ‘The Whites of Our Eyes’, both much longer than the songs before them and feature cleaner guitars, cleaner vocals and crashing crescendos that bring the album to a climatic finish. They aren’t quite as powerful as Defeater’s ‘White Oak Doors’, for example, but you can’t say Palm Reader are two dimensional.

Bad Weather isn’t the most original thing you’ll hear this year, but it has a distinct feel to it. Josh Mckeown’s vocal style is somewhere between aggressive singing and restrained screaming, clearly enunciating his lyrics so you won’t have any difficulty deciphering them. Some may find this annoying but others will delight in it. In any case, Palm Reader have delivered an impressive first album here that isn’t likely to be on your stereo as you feast on a barbecue but is nevertheless an enjoyable listen. Here’s a band that’ll be making waves in the not too distant future.

Palm Reader – Bad Weather8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Unwanted Guest (Grace pt. 1)
  2. Spineless
  3. Smack Hound
  4. The Fox and the Crow
  5. Bitter Hostess (Grace pt. 2)
  6. Seeing and Believing Are Two Different Things
  7. Echo
  8. Uncomfortably Lucid
  9. Noble Host (Grace pt. 3)
  10. The Whites of Our Eyes