After a busy 2010, filled with tours, festivals and lots of recording, 2011 sees the release of Until Spring, the debut album from ultra-hip alternative-indie band Wild Palms. When I heard Wild Palms for the first time at Offset Festival in September 2010, my first thoughts – or should I say feelings – were that I was just utterly overwhelmed by the beauty, intrigue and complexity of their music. Upon listening to their debut album, I was again engulfed by their music’s formidability; its intelligence, intricacy and elegance that has been captured so well throughout Until Spring.
The music on Until Spring at first aural-glance appears to have all the hallmarks of typical music from the alt-indie scene; quiet melancholy, souring soundscapes, sensitive production and perceptive lyrics. Do not however confuse this amazing album for indie “paint-by-numbers”, for it is much more than the sum of its parts. The lyrics are evocative, sensitive and insightful. Poetic even. A gentle grain delivers them with an unassuming yet steadfast vocal presence. The drums are understated, but thick, dynamic and precise. The guitar and bass work perfectly together, with the bass often taking the lead on haunting, captivating sections that are at times reminiscent of Mike Oldfield’s work circa Hergest Ridge. The guitar timbres are also reminiscent of other artists; most notably the likes of The Hundred In The Hands and Slow Club – very fresh, precise and now. Finally, the production embellishes, enhances and connects all parts superbly. The numerous effects layered on the tracks are rich, original and completely unformulaic, creating awesome, epiphanic moments of creative clarity.
This music is clever, and clearly written by contemplative minds that have developed and ruminated over their music. That is not say however that there is no warmth or fervour in this album – it is not at all mapped out, cold-heart perfectionism. These songs are full of deep, real emototivity, where angst, despondency, desperation and ecstasy are loaded in every word, guitar wail, bass-line and cymbal smash. Much of this album does have a minor approach, but it is not all introspection and head-music. There are cute ditties, upbeat tempos and catchy lines. Carnations and Delight in Temptation illustrate this beautifully. Until Spring is a stunning debut, and shouldn’t just be left in the cool kids’ arsenal – it should filter-down and proliferate to as large an audience as possible.