Perhaps one of the most over-hyped bands of 2012, Palma Violet’s eagerly awaited debut has had radio DJs and music critics alike crossing their legs in anticipation for its release. Well it’s finally arrived, but it is enough to fill the post-Vaccines indie rock vacuum?
When NME names your first ever single the track of the year, arrogance is almost 99% expected to explode like a roman candle over your head. But Lambeth lads Palma Violets don’t seem too bothered about their endless comparisons with The Libertines. A good dose of swagger and self-deprecation keep the big-headed rockstar bravado at bay and when Sam Fryer ends 180 with ‘I’d love to show the world my new song,’ you can almost touch the sarcasm in earnest.
Banging open 180 is the BBC 6Music wonder-song ‘Best Of Friends’, which despite the domestic cynic in me desperately trying to ruin, is a fine example of a simply great rock and roll tune. Followed swiftly by organ-heavy single number two, ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’, Palma Violets’ debut storms full steam ahead. What is perhaps most remarkable about this hyperbolic debut is the energy held throughout, as if someone hit the full power button and forgot to release the sustain.
What’s clear to see is that Palma Violets can just write good songs. There’s no CGI and there’s no special features, just pure and simple, horse meat and two veg ready meal indie rock. And despite the media hype, it’s still pretty good.
But Palma Violets aren’t just pretty good. I’m not yet convinced they’re the saviours of British rock, but they’re not a band to be quickly forgotten. And it’s not just the singles that stick in your head. The Beatles’ ‘Day In The Life’ infused ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’, foot-pounding ‘Tom The Drum’ and oddly heartwarming ‘Three Stars’ are all highlights among highlights from just a great album. Whether or not it’s the album of the year, 180 is a brilliant debut from a brilliant band. Let’s just hope the Palma Violets don’t change direction any time soon.By Chris Bennigsen