Palm Reader – Braille (Silent Cult Records)
The thing about Palm Reader is that they can be utterly brilliant. At their best there are a million things going on at once and they all make sense.
Palm Reader can be brutal, flowing, flowering, melodic and completely captivating. But sometimes they… can’t.
And just like 2015’s Besides The Ones We Love, there is one stand-out song that blows all others away. Then it was Stacks, now it’s album opener Swarm.
The opening gambit on this third full length record is everything the band can be and more, and it’s certainly the best track on the album. But that doesn’t mean you should just stick to listening to the single because Braille still has lots to offer.
But, where Swarm flowed, it’s follow up Internal Winter stuttered. Where the former injected a frantic pace to the album, the latter slowed things up.
Thankfully, things are picked up again by Like A Wave – which doesn’t exactly what is says on the tin and ebbs and flows through four bruising minutes. It also allows Josh McKeown the freedom to bust a lung and a vocal cord with the type of delivery a Gallows Frank Carter would be proud to call his own.
But then again, the whole record is brought back to earth and then revved up again like fairground ride. Inertia slows things up initially, but there is always an inner anger boiling away in the background of this tune and it doesn’t take long before it bursts out in a howling crescendo of noise.
And this is the type of thing Braille does well, for it’s repeated expertly on the final song A Lover, A Shadow. This six minute epic pushes the listener to the edge before backing down and doing it all again.
The best hardcore bands have noise, yes, but there is always a purpose to that. It’s not noise for the sake of it and Palm Reader understand that. They don’t always get it right, but when they do it goes off. That alone is worth sticking around for.