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Album Review: Braille by Palm Reader

Palm Reader release their third album Braille on 6th April via Silent Cult Records. Recorded and produced by Lewis Johns (Bastions, Rolo Tomassi, Gnarwolves, Muncie Girls) at The Ranch, Southampton, this marks an evolution and refinement of Palm Reader. For a band renowned for heavy riffs with math rock tinges, Braille builds upon those foundations and showcases the band ramping it all up a gear and adding stunning atmospherics and immediate melodies.

Formed from the same Surrey scene that brought the world Employed To Serve, Woking’s Palm Reader have spent the last seven years honing their craft everywhere from the dingiest toilet venues in Britain to the biggest festival stages in Europe, continuingly improving both as a live band and as songwriters as they have crept stealth-like to the upper echelons of the United Kingdom’s most respected underground acts.

Brace yourselves as this not only solidifies their position but packs a punch that will thrill and excite. Opener, and lead single, ‘Swarm’ is a serious statement of intent. As the riffs come rolling in and Josh McKeown’s frantic vocal gushes with emotion and power you can’t help but think this is going to be something special. While those riffs are wonderfully heavy they aren’t averse to a hook and the melody suckers you in adding an immediate quality to the track. From there on in Braille goes from strength to strength. ‘Internal Winter’ simmers with latent aggression and a flavour of latter day Dillinger Escape Plan, while ‘Like A Wave’ serves up a barrage of thunderous riffs – the energy off both tracks is stunning.

‘Inertia’ is something special, progressive and expansive. Somehow it manages to be crushingly heavy and beautiful at the same time. It’s nigh on impossible not to scream and headbang along. Perhaps most notably the emotion that comes off the track is overwhelmingly powerful. We’d go as far to say you should get the album for this track alone. That said, you’d be a fool just to dip into Braille as every track has something special to it. In a stark contrast ‘Breach’ is an atmospheric respite from the riffs, yet you’ll find the guitar work around 2 minutes 30 to be every bit as striking and powerful.

Normal service is resumed with the formidable and immediate ‘Coalesce’. While the riffs are as heavy as anything else on the album the quieter moments complement perfectly creating post-rock style dynamics to heighten their impact. It must be said that the vocal work is, again, superb. ‘The Turn’ is the most accessible point of Braille with a big chorus to sucker you in before ‘Dorothy’ dials back the tempo and sets up the expansive and hypnotic tones of the first two minutes of ‘Clockwork’. For those two minutes there’s a Minus The Bear style to proceedings before the track explodes with a bombardment of riffs, wonderful stuff. Closer ‘A Lover, A Shadow’ blends Palm Reader’s knack of immediate melodies with huge riffs that soar over you and come crashing down with all the might and devastation of a tsunami. How could you not love it?

AD Rating 9/10

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Playlist: Palm Reader’s Guilty Pleasures – Alt Dialogue
  2. Alt Dialogue’s Top 100 Albums of 2018 Part 2: 50 – 1 – Alt Dialogue

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