Palm have been hard at work establishing themselves as the masters of sound-bending and tricky compositions that somehow register as melodic, and their new single “Crank” is strong evidence of this. Hailing from Bard College in Hudson Valley, New York, these crazy wizards have made themselves a reputation as a band that no one else wants to play after “because they’re just too damn good.” Recordings only do their complex and knotty sound a slight bit of justice, but I’m excited to (somewhat belatedly) share their newest effort here. “Crank” is the lead single from their new album Trading Basics, which will be out via Inflated Records.
The track begins with a sort of fuzzy, high-gain bassline and two trading guitar distortion-wah sounds which together compose a tripartite melodic hook (atonal hook? depends on how you look at it). Singer Eve’s voice has been transformed into a high-pitched, shimmering beam of sound – the wetness of her vocal texture reminds me vaguely of the Aquapuss pedal by Way Huge I’ve been meaning to buy, plus possibly a flanger or something wacky like that. The exact frequency eludes me – and as I type out that clause, I realize that it’s actually a pretty relevant clause for the band overall. I’m just not on the same wavelength as these guys, always one step behind and craning my neck around the corner to try to predict what’ll come next. “Crank” is actually a pretty generally pleasant track for the most part, with a sort of cloak of atonality shrouding its beginning and end; I’m excited to hear the deep cuts from this album, but also happy that Palm can chill out and make their sound accessible when they want to.