Palma Violets – 180
Bands who get labelled as ‘great new hopes’ rarely fare well when it comes to debut albums. Usually the pressures of living up to all the ‘potential’ they’ve been lumbered with takes it’s toll and results in them sinking without trace. In Palma Violets’ case though, they’ve always had something about them that suggested they might actually live up to the hype – that intangible star quality and ‘4 Real’-ness that sees them share sentences with the likes of The Libertines and The Clash.
‘Best Of Friends’, their first single and the opening track of debut album 180, was the brilliant and exhilarating catalyst for all the Palma Violets hype that has been buzzing around for the past 6 months or so. And quite rightly so. It’s brilliant – probably the best debut single since ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’. Predictably, the rest of 180 never manages to match it, but there are occasional flashes of brilliance.
The nonchalant swagger of ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’, the WU LYF-esque epic build of ‘Chicken Dippers’ and the dreamy Doors style keys on the rabble-rousing ’14’ all point to Palma Violets being a band with huge potential. They can even get away with copying the Father Ted theme tune on the intro to ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’!
The problem is these moments of brilliance tend to fizzle out almost as quickly and sharply as they sparked – leaving the majority of 180 to plod and meander instead of soar and excite. It does have a certain ramshackle charisma though, which can hide a multitude of sins, and their life-affirming live shows will ensure they don’t go the way of so many before them and sink without trace.
In fact, a slightly off-kilter rough diamond of a debut album might be the best thing for Palma Violets. Maybe now the hype spotlight can focus on another ‘great new hope’ (Peace, Savages, CHVRCHES – there’s plenty of options!) and leave Palma Violets to develop their good ideas and build on their sound like The Horrors were allowed to do after Strange House