Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Fake Palms tread post punk water on Lemons

"Lemons"

Release date: 16 September 2022
7/10
Fake palms lemons art
16 September 2022, 00:00 Written by Ross Horton
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Fake Palms – the Toronto outfit led by Michael le Riche – are an intriguing proposition. They have everything going for them - and certainly enough talent to be household names (at least in households who regularly listen to post-punk and new wave).

The hooks are sharp, the rhythms choppy, the vocals achingly cool. If you’ve ever found yourself enjoying The Modern Lovers, The Strokes, Parquet Courts, Cage the Elephant or any number of similar rhythm groups, then you’ll find something here to devour. But for whatever reason – could be the gap between albums, could be the niche appeal of indie rock these days – they haven’t quite hit the heights of some of their contemporaries.

If an album alone was able to right that wrong, then they make a good stab at it with Lemons. Opener “Drain” – played entirely by le Riche and Ben Reinhartz (drums) – is fast and furious, but leaves room for le Riche’s sunglasses-indoors-cool vocal delivery to lounge and sprawl as if on a crushed velvet chaise longue. If Parquet Courts are your thing, then the second track “Visions” is what you should go straight for. le Riche’s meaty drawl is a perfect blend of PC’s Andew Savage and Austin Brown, and the guitars lock in with the drums in some kind of unholy motorik union.

The way the riff and percussions rhythms fall over each other at the start of “Satellite” evokes the golden era of power pop (it’s pitched somewhere between The Cars and Elvis Costello, one supposes). “Wasted Silhouettes” goes in a darker direction, with a piercing Goth guitar line superimposed over a serrated rhythm. The chorus is also superb. “The Curl” is one for the Strokes fans – it’s almost identical to Casablancas and co.’s unholy racket, save for a teaspoon-in-a-swimming pool drop of Bradford Cox essence.

The main criticism most folks would have about Lemons is that when taken as a whole, in one sitting, the lack of real and tangible shifts in tone and style hurt the overall impact of the album. In simple terms, it might be too same-y for some listeners, and probably could have benefitted from a couple of different flavours across the record.

The closest they get to breaking new ground is on the closer, “Soft Fear”, which opens with a drumbeat that instantly evokes Public Image Limited’s “Annalisa” and the Stone Roses’ “I Am the Resurrection” (coincidentally another group fond of lemons). From there, it showcases everything that Fake Palms do well and much more. The song is spacious, and the sonic palette expanded - le Riche and Reinhartz are joined by Evan Lewis (guitar) and Laura Hermiston (vocals).

“Soft Fear” is a fantastic ending to a good record. The only problem with including one of your best songs towards the end of an album is that folks will (rightly) ask where the hell that kind of track had been for the rest of the album. Hopefully there’s an album full of them coming sooner rather than later.

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