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Palms Station’s “Alive”

Drawing us into their web of melodicism like a sorcerer conjuring up some sort of ghostly pinwheel, the guitars in Palms Station’s new single (and its music video) “Alive” are arguably the most glowing quality that the song has to offer, but make no mistake about it – this is no small statement for any critic to make. With “Alive,” the psych-rocking Palms Station put a lot of stock in their instrumental prowess and ultimately emerge from the recording studio with some of their most entrancing content to see widespread release so far. 

The strings aren’t the only fetching feature that this single has for us to explore, and thanks to the highbrow production style of both the song and the video, there isn’t a component within the music that we aren’t able to fully appreciate. The relationship between the vocals and the gentle rhythm they accent is surprisingly complicated, and though it’s juxtaposed with a relatively simplistic structure in the bassline – and the actual lyrics that our singer is conveying – the contrast is essential to the release in the chorus being as exuberantly climactic as it is. 

There’s a somewhat minimalist approach taken by guest vocalist Torii Wolf in comparison to the rest of the arrangement here, but I can understand the desire to create a subtle balance on the front of the mix. Wolf adds a melodic ribbonry to the finished product that might not have been as tangible to us without a vocal such as hers to tie everything together, and while I would have liked a little more volume afforded to her part in the climax of the track, the anti-cathartic nature of the ultimate release in “Alive” undeniably adds to the credibility of the material from a postmodern perspective. 

To me, you can’t go wrong with the surreal qualities of the music video for this song when analyzing this sound from a psychedelic perspective, and best of all, I don’t know that you could ever really describe it as being referential to another era in the history of the style. Where others are dependent on imagery alluding to the ‘60s to attain the cerebral undertow this act is so seamlessly in this release, Palms Station is taking things in a much more futuristic and, dare I say it, almost post-punk direction with “Alive.” They’re experimenting with everything, starting with the most mundane of cosmetic frills in a pop song. 

Indie rock connoisseurs who enjoy a pinch of psychedelic-inspired aesthetics now and again really shouldn’t skip out on Palms Station’s “Alive” this season, as it may well be the best example of this band’s talents that we’ve collectively been given access to. “Alive” is a profoundly melodic and undisputedly multidimensional composition that doesn’t ask anything out of its audience in exchange for three minutes of pure sonic pleasure, and as unfortunate as it is for me to admit, that’s not something that you can find every day in popular music anymore. If anything, this track is a bit of a rarity in 2022. 

Mindy McCall



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