CD Review: Palmdale / Get Wasted!
Reviewed by: Ryan Labbe
1. Here Comes The Summer
2. Pick Your Poison
3. Happiness Has A Half-Life
4. West Coast Serenade
5. Bound For The Floor
One of the best things about summer is having great music to play at loud volume with the windows rolled down and your hair in the wind. With summer fast approaching, Palmdale’s “Get Wasted” EP is a full of driving rhythm, fun and witty lyrics, and hook laden melodies. Even their moniker Palmdale has warm, sunny connotations.
Palmdale is the name chosen to represent the duo of Kay Hanley and Linus of Hollywood. If Kay’s name, or better yet, her voice, sounds familiar, it’s probably because she is the former lead singer of Boston alt-pop band, Letters To Cleo. Without a doubt, she carries some of her past experience with her to Palmdale, which also explores new territory for her. (Sidenote: she’s also an avid New England sports fan which automatically qualifies her as pure awesome!) Completing the duo, Linus of Hollywood has been an integral part of the LA underground pop scene for years – writing and releasing his own records from start to finish, creating his own labels and he also toured as a member of Nerf Herder for awhile. Clearly this guy is not a fan of idle hands!
The opening track on their “Get Wasted” EP, appropriately titled “Here Comes the Summer” is pure pop gold, imagine The Go-Go’s…with an edge. The song opens with a light beat and Hanley singing, “do-do-do do-do,” a staple of any irresistible pop song. “Back when young, full of piss and bubblegum” sings Hanley leading off the second verse and perfectly encapsulating what Palmdale seems to be about: sweet pop music with just enough edge. As Hanley sings, “Here’s comes the summer (ba ba da da)” during the chorus, you can hear where hand claps would fit perfectly to round out this pop gem.
“Pick Your Poison” opens with a guitar riff reminiscent of something you might hear on a Foo Fighters album. It has harder feel than the previous track; more piss than bubblegum, but still retains the pop sensibilities that seemingly come natural to Palmdale. “Seemed like a good idea at the time/Not too sure what you had in mind/one more step and it’s a landslide,” sings Hanley during the chorus.
“Happiness Has a Half-Life” begins as a slow song, gradually picking up speed. Lyrically, it’s sad and regretful. “Am I alive or just an illustration, a lovely lie,” sings Hanley, continuing with the melancholy “Happiness has a half-life, watch it go,” as the chorus builds up and explodes with a distorted guitars and charging rhythm section.
“West Coast Serenade,” is a mid-tempo rocker with a pre-chorus that conjures up some memories of the Gin Blossoms, while the chorus itself is light and fun. Towards the end of the song, the melody bursts into a round of singing and provides the listener with one of the finest moments on the EP.
The EP’s final track is a subdued, almost barely recognizable (at first), cover of Local H’s “Bound for the Floor.” Palmdale’s version works very well. It begins with just acoustic guitars and vocals. The chorus is beautifully sung, making for a strong and unforgettable closer. The pace picks up after the second verse and as the song draws to an end, Palmdale play the song more true to the original.
All in all, “Get Wasted” is a strong collection of well-crafted pop songs. With only five songs, the EP certainly whets the appetite and hopefully we will hear more from Palmdale in the future. Check them out for yourself in the player below and head over to their website for a free download!