Masters of 21st century escapism, Palm is renowned for creating vivid breaks in reality. Their upcoming album, Rock Island, presents the listener with a place to match the feeling. Completely ambiguous, Rock Island is more conceptual than concrete. On the album cover it’s an attic, in your mind maybe it’s your bedroom, maybe it’s a person. The isolation from main land can be perceived as freedom or unrest; liberty or exile. Either way Palm utilizes that sense of detachment to create a world entirely separate from that of which we are immersed in.

     Rising above the sea of sound, the first single “Pearly” is paradise. The band crafts their own dialect and integrates influences from 80’s pop to electronic. With math beats and art school influences, the central focus is communication. The sounds serve as signals, distraught and manipulated, desperate and candid. The guitars like flashlight beams trying to communicate in quick signals glinting after each other like morse code.

      Even the vocals focus more on the interaction with the music instead of what they're actually trying to convey. The fragments that are able to be transmitted are fuzzy and broken, seemingly washed away by an undertow of sound. The second half of the chorus “I want nothing but the best for...” seems to get shipwrecked in the rising waves of hi-fi and synth. Good intentions without a clear motive, the song has an enigmatic warmth. The fuzz of the vocals and haze of heat again leave it up to the listener to decipher and interpret.

      Palm’s abstract obscurity allows for listeners to connect with the music in their own way. With no right or wrong interpretation each person visualizes Rock Island differently. “Pearly” is just as much a part of Palm as it is the listeners. They exert their own artistic vision while keeping enough distance for people to make it their own. The rest of Rock Island is due out February 9, 2018.


samantha sullivan