Album Review: Palma Violets, ‘Danger in the Club’
With Danger in the Club, Palma Violets exceed any expectations put forth on their debut, and deliver a near perfect rock and roll album.
Palma Violets first appeared in 2012 with the catchy single "Best of Friends," which garnered a fair amount of attention in their native England. It was soon followed by their debut, 180, in 2013. The band combined elements of garage, punk and post punk with an electricity only afforded by the young. Now with album number two, they not only retain that enthusiasm, but have crafted it into a smart, sharp set of songs.
This time around the band has upped the ante by recording at the famed Rockfield Studios, and enlisting producer John Leckie (Magazine, XTC, Stone Roses and Radiohead, to name a few of his past triumphs), who definitely adds that certain something to the material. The fire remains in tact as the album kicks into gear with "Hollywood (I Got It)" which cooks along like the Clash and the Fleshtones having it out after a drunken night of revelry. The garage-inspired riffage continues with "Girl, You Couldn't Do Much Better on the Beach" which explodes upon impact.
These guys take the whole garage-punk aesthetic as taught by dear old Mark E. Smith and the Fall and crank it up to 11; in fact, "Danger in the Club" could very well be a long lost Fall song. It's dynamic, rousing and pretty much brilliant -- the influence of Smith can be felt throughout the album, and yes, that's a good thing!
While bands like the Libertines or, for that matter, the Strokes have tried to capture a spirited sound that lies somewhere between the Modern Lovers and the Clash, Palma Violets have truly done so here.
There are no one-trick ponies at play as "The Jacket Song" shows off a mellower side of the band. It's a ragged acoustic ballad soaked in cigarettes and booze that even ol' Keef would probably smile at. Ravers like "Gout! Gang! Go!" sit side-by-side with more esoteric numbers like "No Money Honey," and the organ driven "Matador" which slithers along to become one of the LP's high points.
"English Tongue" serves as a perfect album closer, coming on like some bastard offspring of the Velvet Underground, Rolling Stones, Nikki Sudden and Ian Hunter. The album somehow combines Palma Violets' youthful energy with an almost world weariness far beyond their years.
Palma Violets were smart enough not to try and make some sort of grand statement on their sophomore offering, but rather, by disposing of any awkwardness found on their debut, they have been able to fine tune their approach, tightening things up and putting it all into focus. This is one of the finest offerings of 2015 released thus far.