Palms - _Palms_
(Ipecac, 2013)
by: Dan Lake (6 out of 10)
The _Palms_ album is out there now, available at any digital or physical music outlet you can imagine. If you're reading this review, you have access to the album already and have had for several weeks. Hell, you might be listening to it right now. It's three members of the pedestal-perched Isis (Jeff Caxide totally in character on bass, Aaron Harris manning the drum kit, Bryant Clifford Meyer hypnotizing with guitars and keys) and the mouth of the inimitable Deftones, one Chino Moreno. (At some later date, we'll tackle the fact that CoC has never covered a Deftones release, and how that's now at least partially my fault. Not right now, though.)

The point is that Palms has been well advertised, and the lineup is a lite-metal wet dream, so if you're alive enough to read this, you're probably already Palming yourself. Actually, we should follow this steamy train of sensual thought, since it fits the record rather well. _Palms_ might be your new intimate evening jam, if you and that special someone can keep the heat alive for 45 trembly minutes of throbaliciousness, and both of you (or, shit, however many of you; who am I to set limits for you?) enjoy slinky slow-rock tension with extremely occasional spikes of release. The music is smooth, pretty and undemanding, so you can turn all your attention to puttin' on those groovy moves the ladies/gentlemen are gonna love so much. Start practicing now. It's not like you're actively listening to _Palms_, anyway.

And here's the, uh, rub. Both Isis (in their pre-spacey heyday) and Deftones have employed propulsive, rhythmic power. For all of Chino Moreno's feline meanderings, his voice has always crackled with an vibrant edge. Neither quality makes much of an appearance on _Palms_. To their credit, the band knows what they're playing and they stick to the humid undulations throughout the record. But there's too much reverb on Chino's vocals to allow them to have much power, and the instrumental drawl traces paths through the dreamy spheres inhabited by the sunset-simmer of "Wavering Radiant" (the direction of which I had thought was guided by Aaron Turner, but whose absence here forces me to rethink that assumption).

Isis-fronted-by-Chino was all the hype, but was really too much to hope for. _Palms_ is a quiet Californian communion with its own cover art. Elongated atmosphere trumps any real attempt at engaging melodies. Not wonderful for an immersive musical epiphany. Maybe perfect for slipping fingers along sweat-slick skin and becoming completely immersed in someone else.

Or for Palming yourself.


(article published 28/7/2013)

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