By: Lance Turner
Pallow | website | facebook | bandcamp |
Released on February 14, 2015 via Ronald Records
I frequently find new music by searching genre tags on Bandcamp, or rifling through countless FFO links. A couple of the tags provided by Pallow on their Bandcamp site are Drone, Shoegaze, and Slowcore. For me, these are normally descriptors that immediately pigeonhole bands as unlistenable according to my personal taste. But, I’d recently seen Pallow listed as recommended by another band so I decided to lend them my ears.
Given my infancy in exposure with these styles I barely feel qualified in chronicling their creation. One thing I am sure of is that I like what I hear. Nevertheless, you must be in the right state of mind to listen. If you are in a good mood, then I urge and admonish you NOT to listen as it will only oblige in bringing you down. This is not born out of criticism, but a simple narrative. Confined will be that downtrodden shoulder of a friend in your time of need. But sometimes we all need that friend to wallow with. If only abiding in the old adage of misery loves company. However, do not judge this EP by your first impression.
My first listen returns an initial impression of their lack of understanding of song arrangement and rhythm. Here again I cite my lack of experience as I soon find that it was only my naivety and acutely personal sense of song style that prevented me from embracing that which is altered and different by design. Reverb, distortion, and strangely varying melodies echo beyond the command of what is familiar and widely acceptable. Guitars, drums, bass, and vocals all cooperate and support each other.
‘In Wait’ begins with a vague noise in the distant background, and carries on with a dreary pulse. Wanting to increase the pace, but forced to continue on in it’s dogged pursuit. Overlapping choruses drive home a sense of empathy mixed with regret. ‘Muted’ delivers undulating melodies that accurately express moods of both highs and lows. Later, extended measures emphasize thoughts of meandering through the monotony of unremarkable achievement. ‘Synthetic Now’ begins with a soft melody akin to a child’s lullaby, which is then covered and complimented by distortion. I hear a refusal to be restrained any longer by the notion of being products of our environment, but aware that we are inherently judged as a result of those surroundings. This is definitely one of Pallow’s triumphs. ‘Inward’ is unquestionably my favorite track on this EP. With a lyrical context I can relate to deeply, I must’ve listened at rate of 20:1 compared the rest of the EP. A somber mood is set by minimalistic guitars, and a very skilled restraint on bass and drums. As you’re feeling the song begin to fade away, you are hit with a beautiful cacophony of sounds and screams fraught with pain, remorse, and torment. There is comfort in the chaos.
Being somewhat transfixed by this release I struggled with discerning why I’ve listened to it over and over again. Within the grips of each track, there lies a lyrical prowess that can only be derived from a familiarity with hurt and the absence of fulfillment from the alleged happiness promised to all of us from an early age. This is a solid release from a band that is certainly in tune with their feelings. I’ve click-baited myself to death probing the internet for similar music, but thus far I have come up short in finding anything as stirring as Pallow’s most recent endeavor. Do not fear migrating from whatever might be your customary musical tendency, and yield to the reciprocal conflict of distorted sound and earnest lyrics.