Collaboration takes on a whole new meaning with palmlines, the four-piece alternative band from Pennsylvania. The band apparently “bonded over a love of math and prog rock” according to their submission. It was communicated that everyone plays equal parts in creating their sound, from music writing to audio, they work as a team. The result is a perfectly blended puree of all their influences.
Get in Line, Lucy is their debut album as a group and I am completely over the moon for it. The band members pull together so seamlessly despite having a broad range of tastes. Vocalist and guitarist Rashmit Arora pulls his inspiration from folk and indie rock. Brad Sorman (guitar) brings an appreciation for metal. Otto Kuehrmann, the band’s classically trained bassist, enjoys his jazz and metal music. Sebastian Goodridge, a classically trained percussionist, is a jazz and indie/blues rock fan. Knowing all this really helped me identify all the fabulous flavors in their music.
The music holds firm in the modern alternative zone but things do pop out. They’ll do things like spring an erratic jazz rhythm on you when you least expect it. You’ll also get a few instrument surprises. They can be a bit grungy, especially when you get into the more somber tracks. There’s this coastal flavor, particularly as you get into the lighthearted stuff.
I can’t really identify why, but I swear I could smell the ocean and hear the waves in the background while I was listening. Everyone pulls their weight. I love the way the bass cuts into a rhythm and just flips everything around. I can hear classical percussion techniques applied so creatively with the drums. There are these exquisite, detailed guitar riffs that come through when you’re not hearing the rich vocals.
There were a few tracks that fell a little flat for me like “Seeds.” However, to be fair, that track followed the opener which was “Unfurl” and that song is one hell of an opener. I would actually say it’s the strongest track on the album; it really lets you know what the band is about. That’s not to say it’s all downhill from the first track. There’s plenty of excellent music from top to bottom. Despite being in a digital age, track arrangement can still have such a big effect on the listener.
One of the reasons this album works so well is the audio mixing, and here is where this band really stands out for me. All four members of palmlines are audio engineers. I cannot tell you how amused I am by this factoid. It was confessed by Arora that mixing the album was a “nightmare.” I cannot begin to imagine the endless debate over how these guys wanted their debut album to sound. I’d like to commend the band for being able to work with four audio chefs in one kitchen and coming out on top. I could see palmlines fitting right in a lineup with today’s big alternative names and being right at home. Their work is professional and they’ve created a sound that is all theirs.
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