Album Review: Palma Violets


Palma Violets -‘180.’ (Rough Trade)

So, one of the most anticipated debuts of 2013 is with us. The Palma Violets garnered lots of praise for their debut single ‘Best of Friends’ and with people being desperate for a four-piece indie band to ‘save us’ (umm, from what, exactly?) the torch has been passed to them.

Having enjoyed the single, I was looking forward to the album, and hoping that the band could deliver on the promise, with an indication of where they might develop. After several listens, my conclusion is that there are some good songs on here, and that as well as the singles, tracks like ‘Chicken Dippers’ give an indication that they are prepared, not necessarily to experiment -yet- but to vary the template a little. This isn’t a classic debut, though.

That’s not to say it’s a bad record – it certainly isn’t. It’s fun, and the band need time to develop to reach their potential. It would be nice to think they could do this in their own time, without having to constantly watch for the backstabbers who will see ever chart position and sale as something to be analysed and offered up as evidence that they haven’t cracked it.


Palma Violets- give them a chance!


Being labelled the next big thing can be a complete curse.

Sure, over the years, the likes of Suede, Oasis, Libertines and Arctic Monkeys have taken that ball and run with it. But then again, how quickly it was over (at this point in time, anyway) for the likes of Campag Velocet, the Young Offenders, Menswe@r, The Black Kids, Viva Brother …and bands I can’t even remember.

Palma Violets were on the front cover of NME last week, hailed as the next great guitar band. Now, aside from the gripe that I could make about ‘do we always have to be looking for four boys with guitars?’ (there’s plenty of great music that involves neither) there is a sense, aged thirty five, that ‘here we go again.’ Thing is, cynicism aside, their debut single ‘Best Of Friends’ is really rather great. I’d switched on 6Music this morning, and it came on, and it sounded great. Did it sound like the future of rock’n’roll? No -it just sounded like a great tune.

What it highlights -not for the first time – is not only the ‘build them up to knock them down’ mentality of a lot of people (and I think that bloggers have their own responsibility for this, too, not just print media), but problems that impact on so many areas of art. Obsession with what the midweek chart position is, what the opening weekend at the cinemas did, how many journalists came along to the book launch…things take time to come to fruition. And how much of a quantum leap were sophomore albums by the likes of Blur, Radiohead or Foals?

Sure, people can get carried away. I can’t tell what the Palma Violets debut album will sound like, and like pretty much any act, I really would like it not to be twelve photostats of a debut single. But let the hypers and the knives out brigade just take a deep breath and let the rest of us enjoy it for what it is.

Stream their recent session and interview with Steve Lamacq here:

Presenting…Palma Violets


Straight outta London, Palma Violets are Sam Fryer (vocals, guitar), Chilli Jesson (bass, guitar), Pete Mayhew (keyboards), and Will Doyle (drums). Recently signed to Rough Trade, they have been together barely a matter of months.

So new in fact are they that there’s no soundcloud or bandcamp (no idea if there’s a myspace -it’s like asking the videoshop if they have something on VHS, frankly), nor anything on the Hype Machine -but there is the video of a song ‘Tom The Drum,’ which you can see at the bottom of this post.

They’ve had the likes of Nick Cave and Bernard Butler at their gigs, they were signed by none other than Geoff Travis, and they’ve supported the likes of the Alabama Shakes. As with any new act, there is always the risk of them being built up to be knocked down before they’ve barely got started -but for now, just take them at face value and enjoy!