Picks: Palm Reader, The Wonder Years, Bleed From Within

The Picks feature has existed under one guise or another for a few years now. This one’s special.

Because of that, I’m dropping the usual theoretical ‘we’ and taking responsibility for some big words. I’m Chris. And our first recommendation this week is the best album I’ve heard in years.

Palm Reader
Palm Reader/Silent Cult

Braille is a gobstopper. No album since I started reviewing has better combined sweetness with being as hard as nails. It changes flavour, gives more and more the deeper you go. And if you chuck it at an unsuspecting innocent in the street it’ll take their fucking head off. That’s where the frivolity ends because I’m dead serious about this record. This isn’t just the best thing Palm Reader have ever done. It’s the best thing anyone has done for ages. Every note on this album is weighty, has value, so much so that having a favourite song would be silly. But ‘A Lover, A Shadow’ is staggering. Palm Reader are the band. It’s that simple.

The Wonder Years
Sister Cities
Hopeless Records

Such is the creative footprint of The Wonder Years by comparison with their peers that it’s worth acknowledging one’s entry point before diving into a review. I knew very, very little of their work before being seduced by No Closer To Heaven in 2015. It’s a compliment to say that Sister Cities is a fitting follow-up. Present and correct are the intensity of emotion, the spacious storytelling, the crunch of the guitars and Soupy’s breathtaking vocal performance. If you’re not moved by ‘Pyramids Of Salt’ this won’t be the album for you. But you’ll miss out on ‘It Must Get Lonely’ and the title track, and that’s your loss.

Bleed From Within
Century Media Records

If I knew little of The Wonder Years, I knew nothing of Bleed From Within. Era is the fourth album from this Glaswegian metalcore band and it clocks in at a whopping 55 minutes. There’s a lot to enjoy within that time. Bleed From Within combine the better elements of a host of inferior bands and deliver them to a much higher standard. Better vocals. Bigger and better riffs. A far better ear for groove. When the beatdown in ‘Clarity’ takes hold it’s clear that Era has much to give, even before ‘Crown Of Misery’ smacks you around the chops. That seems to be a habit. Lovely stuff.

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