Oddly enough, an enclosed studio can sound as though its space is indefinite, possibly immaterial. Palomar’s All Things, Forests, with its combination of reverberating electric guitar, keyboards and female vocalists, manage to give their music an eerie sort of vastness, as if they can make all of the screams in outer space audible.
To say that this sort of vastness is what defines the entire album feels kind of weird, but it is a specific feeling that I have when I listen to Palomar. The guitars, while of course being electric, don’t sound manufactured or distorted. These sounds sound true and immediate, like I sitting in the middle of them while they recorded. This truth is sharp, penetrating deep into space that it seems like it shouldn’t, going though the walls of the recording studio and into my ears, bringing with it the echo of the air that this music ripped in two. The instruments sound piercing and immediate as if nothing stood between my mind and the music, not even molded metal and plastic of the instruments, like there was “nothing in the air between us.” The fact is though that the instruments do stand in the way, along with speakers, and amplifiers, and air, and molecules, atoms, protons neutrons, electrons, but the music slices through all of that and comes to me undisturbed by all of the things that stand in my way. Palomar could be just as far as the furthest star, but the sound is with me, immediate and true all the same, traveling parsecs in seconds less than seconds, sound blazing its trail through all of the planets and stars and gravity in between and my ears hearing not just the music, but the subtle hiss of the universal burn under all of this music.
This feeling feels strongest when the chorus of the song starts. The excited power pop calms for a moment to let the vocals resonate in the semi-silence allotted for them. The feminine voices do not dominate this sort-of-silence as much as a man’s voice would, allowing this silence to speak as if it were an instrument itself. This universal burn, something like a light and dreamy echo, sings in harmony with Rachel Warren’s vocals, and then when her voice drops out, the music continues its incredible journey from halfway across the galaxy, careening directly towards my eardrums, traveling at a speed that light cannot touch
Palomar sounds quite poppy, but the music speaks beyond the boundaries of genre that usually packages its contents in a nice little box and sends it to the listener. All Things, Forests rips through its box, music traversing all things, forests and crags and labyrinths of city blocks to get directly to the listener, not needing any help from the genre to let Palomar be heard.
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Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous
Velocity Girl – Copacetic
MP3: “Our Haunt”