When people think about what inspires music, they often go to a romantic place. I don’t think anyone immediately thinks of a public defender slugging it out in the court rooms of New York as artist Andy Palmer did. However, it doesn’t take long to consider what rich and raw stories can be told from that point of view. Palmer took the harsh realities of that perspective along with personal introspection and has delivered his third album release The Switch.
The music on this album is rooty and for the most part somber. Notes of blues, folk and indie rock steeped heavily in soulfulness give this album a certain severity. I don’t want to paint a picture of gloom and doom here, the album is designed to make you listen, shut everything else out. Most of the album settles in a very slow, bluesy mood that at times felt a little too sleepy for me. Among these slower tracks, there were a couple where I felt the length was a bit too long and lost my engagement.
While the album is mostly on the slower side, there are excellent tracks that come with a little more liveliness and rhythm. Tracks three and seven, “Summer” and “The Switch” are lovely interludes into the more indie rock side of Palmer’s repertoire with lively guitar riffs and contagious percussion.
I’d like to take moment to acknowledge the incredible percussion work on track five “Alibi at the Crime” because I had to listen to it again before listening to the rest of the album. The song that really blew me away happens to be the last track “All Named Mary.” This song blends together all of Palmer’s genre influences perfectly and is just downright cool.
What really tips the scales for this album is Palmer’s unmistakable voice and powerful lyrics. His voice can be anything he wants it to be, soulful, gritty, even playful but always, always beautiful no matter the form it takes. Right off the bat with track one “Black Moses,” you understand that Palmer is a natural born writer and storyteller. He can implant any emotion into a listener without overwhelming them. Whether I was completely in love with a song or not on this album, there isn’t one song where I could deny the excellence of the words and vocals.
Palmer surrounds himself with heavy-hitting, talented people who have earned their place in the industry. Everything about this album screams experience and professionalism. From the track arrangement to the mixing and mastering, everything is top notch. This album is polished and undoubtedly complete. I imagine this album’s refinement is a byproduct of Palmer’s long stint in the music world and passion for his work.
The Switch is such a thought provoking experience that I would recommend it for anyone looking to get outside their own perspective for a while. As I said, this album is refined and certainly worth the investment. I want congratulate Mr. Palmer on this album and thank him for sharing it with us here at Divide and Conquer.
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