Hmmmm, where to begin with La Palma and their self-titled album La Palma? I'll start with what I'm looking at outside my window here in Chicago. It's mid June, and yet this is not the spring weather I ordered. I am looking at an overcast, hazy 60, yes that's all, 60 degree day. I am neck deep in one of Chicago's classic weather stunts known as "June Gloom." Back to La Palma and their fascinating album which comes off as a summery, tropical adventure soaked in mystery and danger. The weather is warm, but there is a foreboding fog that moves in and out and I'll be damned if it doesn't suit this June Gloom too damn perfectly.
Deeply nuanced psych meets the brilliant rays of surf rock, I mean yeah, that's a good time. The big seller here is texture, and while it is mostly a mellow road, the textures are lush, rough, enticing, even wet. So many layers delicately curated and placed every so carefully next to upon one another. Not just instruments, so many organic samples that create a stink, a nectar I am ready and willing to consume. It's not just the physical layering of the sounds, it's also a layering of moods and pictures. Some songs I can see a beautiful beach landscape painting soaking in a puddle on a rainy day. There is psychological layering here too. I can feel wary and comforted all within a minute of one of their songs.
The words are hidden treasures in most of their songs. In many cases you have to dig for them, and it's completely worth it. The songs are often more like short little interludes that don't possess a whole lot of words, but lyrics have never been about quantity for me. Their brevity is in itself an art form and very poetic. They don't have to say a lot to create an impact, that is much the mark of a good writer as those who can crank out endless pages. Seriously, take one listen of this album to find the words, they are powerful.
I am not shocked to know that this album was produced head to toe by La Palma's dynamic duo of Chris Walker and Tim Gibbon. This album is an impressive and ambitious project from a production standpoint. Again, the layering here is intricate; we're not dealing with bricks here. These two are working with organically shaped glassware. You can't just stack it. Everything has to be placed tenderly. I can say with confidence that Walker and Gibbon required nothing for this album but their own two hands. They achieved a high level sensory experience with their production tactics and it is commendable.
I'm sure this album is as much a treat on a beautiful sunny day as it is on my shitty one. I like that it created its own light. It may not be glaring, but it is warm and ultimately up-lifting. My thanks to La Palma for providing some sort of light source on this cloudy day. Take a walk on the stranger side, check this album out.
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