As eclectic as it is endearing to the soul of anyone who loves offbeat alternative content, the music video for Palms Station’s new single “Blue Skies Back” seems to have been tailor-made for the times, but I don’t get the impression that it was conceived with the blunt intention of appeasing the masses. “Blue Skies Back,” much like most of the material that Palms Station has released thus far in their career together, is an independent spirit that comes to us free of stylistic pomp and needless frills; defined by its sterling string play and powerfully melodic vocal harmonies, this is a track for the discriminating listener, and moreover, anyone who prefers quality to corporate conventionalism in their music.
The gentle beat of the percussion doesn’t negate the insistence of the rhythm but instead makes the drum part just that much more connective with Torii Wolf’s vocal harmonies. She has the perfect voice for teaming up with her fellow Californians for this release, and although there isn’t a lot of pressure within the mix, she still sounds more potent than the instrumental componentry in more than a couple of key spots. This was essential to giving her lyrics a little more weight than they would have possessed in a more straightforward mix, where a singer of her style might have had to fight for more of the spotlight in “Blue Skies Back.”
Like the other song this act collaborated on recently, “Alive,” “Blue Skies Back” flirts with some minimalist themes that might not have worked out as well for the melodic core in the song were it not for the folky, almost psychedelic-style framework of the arrangement. You can tell that these players are keen on taking a softer approach to a lot of elements where their rivals might want to be more aggressive and punky, and all things considered, I think this makes them some of the more interesting players in the LA scene at the moment. There’s no rush to get to the finish line here, but instead a sense of wonderment that accompanies every evocative tone and texture inserted between the beginning and end of a harmony in this song.
For those who would consider themselves to be indie rock enthusiasts, the amalgamation of folky concepts and psychedelic compositional framework in this single, and its engaging music video for that matter, make for some seriously required listening this December, and I’m far from the only critic to be saying so at the moment. With Torii Wolf, Palms Station’s lush hybridity is made accessible for the mainstream pop-minded audience, but the listeners whom the indie label was originally crafted for will likely champion it as the bar-raising release from this band and their singer/songwriter collaborator that it most certainly is. “Blue Skies Back” is a fun, experimental track from a group that deserves a lot more credit than they’ve been getting lately, and if you haven’t already heard its harmonies yourself, you should make a point to do so soon.
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