Essex band Palmist are on a musical journey that began with emo-infused metal and evolved into more of a more pop-rock approach with synthwave and dance influences. The result is, in their words, “sexy dance music” that offers a little bit of something for all music fans.
The band has its roots in another of our featured bands Greyhaven, which included guitarist Alex Hills and vocalist Sam Paterson. When that band came to an end they decided to focus on creating a new sound and brought in Adam Sutherland (guitar) and Jack Hudson (bass) followed by Jack Ratcliffe (drums). We then saw them play a gig alongside As Everything Unfolds and Griever in May 2019, and the quintet been busy evolving their sound ever since.
On the new Palmist sound, Alex tells us: “A little bit of rock, metal and pop and a nostalgic aesthetic. It’s 80s music written by people who were born in the 90s.”
Our first taste of that new sound is latest single Spark, which was released last week and offers a glimpse into the band’s new sound, brand and image. It opens up with synthy sounds that give way to guitar chords with bursts of synth sprinkled over the top.
Sam’s engaging vocals come in and develop into fast-paced vocals that feed into a catchy chorus “Spark (Woah, woah), ‘Cause everything about you feels so right, Let me feel your heart drop, (Woah, woah), Feeling sedated, You’re my kryptonite, So let’s vibe tonight.” A second chorus drops into heavier guitars and driving drums over cries of “Can you feel that,” which flow into a big final blast of the chorus.
On the track, Alex told us: “We’re super excited for everyone to hear what we’ve been working on this past year. We’ve honed in on a lot of our pop and dance music influences and tried to incorporate them into the guitar driven aspect of our sound that we’d already established. It’s definitely a departure from some of our earlier work but it still has that same identity that makes it Palmist.” Check it out in the video here:
As Alex mentioned, it’s not a total departure from the band’s previous music, which has always had that poppy edge to it despite being a little heavier. For example, Life For Me also features lighter, engaging verses that burst into a big singalong chorus, while there are clear pop influences in the more laid-back intro to A Way Out.
But the first track that brought Palmist to our attention was the excellent Wildfire, which features Griffin Dickinson from SHVPES. It opens up with a delicious guitar lick that drops into a light verse and feeds into a big catchy chorus. The lick returns in the chorus and feeds into Griffin’s rapped vocals, before Sam’s engaging vocals return to feed into another big chorus. A big guitar solo comes in, the pace drops and builds up to a big chorus to bring the track to a close. Check it out in the video below:
Palmist bring a range of varied influences to the table, but name their top five as Linkin Park, Don Broco, Queen, The 1975 & Donny Benét.
And on what inspires their music, Alex says: “I think the thing that drives us to write music is just wanting to get the songs out of our head and into other peoples’ heads. We write music simply because we couldn’t imagine not writing music.
“Recently, we’ve noticed a lot of our songs have been written about having a laugh on a night out with your mates, meeting someone new, all thet stuff that COVID has deprived us of basically. It seems like writing about it has helped us cope with not actually being able to do those things.”
Palmist have plenty more to come, including new music and a lot of recording to catch up on as a result of the pandemic putting their studio plans on hold. They also have festivals lined up for the summer and a special socially distanced and live streamed show with Immerse at London’s Black Heart on 26 May. You can get your ticket for that here.