Palma Violets -Danger in the Club (ALBUM REVIEW)

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palmavioletsTwo years after their magnetic debut, 180 generated enormous buzz, British rockers Palma Violets have returned with Danger In The Club, their eagerly anticipated, high-stakes sophomore release. With the famed John Leckie handling production duties, the band sounds a little more polished this time around, but not glammed up to the point that it mutes their gloriously powered ramshackle, garage-band spirit. While some high-profile artists and bands can bog their second albums down with forced attempts at reconfiguration, Palma Violets here wisely keep the experimentation in check and let their swagger flow forth as the guiding principle.

The songs on the album are a little less catchy than their predecessors on 180, but there are still enough urgent-sounding raucous rave-ups to satisfy those expecting continued thunder from the band. The album pulsates particularly strong at the beginning. After a brief, boozy a cappella sing-a-long to begin the album, guitars blaze forth with frenetic energy on “Hollywood (I Got It)” and “Girl, You Couldn’t Do Much Better (On the Beach)”, the former featuring an impish chorus that furthers the band’s fondness for chanting, and the latter making a profitable use of its’ brief two-minute running time. Elsewhere, they continue to blast their way through with blistering first-take intensity on tracks like, “Gout! Gang! Go!”, “Peter and the Gun”, and the closing number “English Tongue”. Songs like these are the band’s bread and butter, crucial performances that form the crux of their image and solidify their reputation as a high-wire live act.

But, while Palma Violets rarely hesitate to hold back with the ferocious immediacy of their sound, they do take a few stabs at restraint on Danger In The Club. “Walking Home” presents a charming sad-sack account from the perspective of a freshly ditched lover. Conversely, “Coming Over To My Place” showcases the ups and downs of a relationship from the viewpoint of a frustrated and confused mate who may be anticipating the heartbreak that eventually comes. And, smack in the middle of the album comes “Matador”, a slow-burner tinged with jealously indignant lyrics and anchored with a killer Joy Division-esque bassline. It’s a stylistic curveball for the band, but one that arguably ends up being the album’s best and most rewarding track.

Though it doesn’t provide as exhilarating of a rush as their debut album did, Danger In The Club shows a band favoring a slightly more nuanced sonic approach without losing the punch that has propelled them forward to this point. Still in their early twenties age-wise, the band members are smartly exploring their creative tendencies and following the points of inspiration. The future continues to hold promise.

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