Odd Palace

Things To Place On The Moon

Written by: LL on 25/05/2018 15:20:25

The Danish progressive and experimental rock/metal band Odd Palace has been a refreshing presence on the Copenhagen live scene since I first encountered them back in 2016 after the release of their first EP in 2015. Their always explosive and impulsive performances, as well as their insistence on writing challenging and yet accessible material in the vein of The Mars Volta or perhaps a less metal-focused System of a Down, hooked me instantly. The main challenge, then, with the release of their debut full-length, "Things To Place On The Moon", is certainly how to capture this ferocious live energy in the static medium of a recording.

First of all, it's refreshing with an album that starts head-on with vocals from the very first second while slowly building the atmospheric track "Carnivore". The album's mysterious and experimental tone is laid out immediately and pulls at the listener through the album like a red thread until the very last ringing of their occasionally appearing trumpet in the album's closer "Dead End". As such, it is a very cohesive album with a clear sense of the band's identity and signature sounds. Odd-time drumming, delicious and groovy bass lines, sharp vocals and overall abundant melodic guitar oddities, as well as catchy hooks, shape every new song so that the listener can always be sure in which direction they will throw us next.

A track like the single "Liar's Attire" stands out among the rest as it packs a punch and masters the balance between being hard-hitting and to-the-point while also reaching out in an experimental fashion, what you might call a well-structured distillation of the band's style. As pretty much the exact opposite to that, yet still great, we find the 13-minute long title track "Things To Place On The Moon" around the middle of the album. It winds on and on and presents a softer side of the band with busy percussion elements as well as a more Latin-inspired guitar part. In general, many of the songs on the album seem to fall into either of these two kinds of categories. Either tightly structured and hard-hitting like for instance "Carnivore" or "Chemical Solution", or softer but more open-sounding progressive pieces like for instance "Insomnia" and, not least, the title track.

The very best of the tracks here, at least to me, are the ones that manage to combine these elements the best, "Liar's Attire" being the first obvious example. The wonderfully choppy "Delirious" that seems to break itself up every chance it gets also deserves a mention here, as well as "The Alchemist" that has me convinced instantly with its insisting bass and infectious guitar riffs. Since I have already been familiar with the band and their sound for a couple of years, my initial phase of excitement about every single thing they did has mellowed out a bit and yet, overall this is an exciting release. Still, and this might seem like a weird thing to say about an album as progressive as this, I wish it was a little more off the hook crazy. The clear production makes every instrument sound welcoming and warm in a way that perhaps makes the band's complex music easier for a new or more confused listener to get into but at the same time I keep feeling a nagging disappointment that it sounds almost too clean and that the shorter songs are a little too predictably structured.

Of course, that comes down to a question of taste and it's definitely a minor regret about a solid album that shows Odd Palace as a group capable of delivering interesting music in several different forms and energy-levels. Certainly, this bunch of songs will do extremely well in the group's future live shows where the abundance of riffs and rhythms can be unleashed in different ways. As was the case with their "Insomnia" EP, this one leaves me wanting for more simply because Odd Palace's experimental approach gives me a sense that there are still wonderful new places for them to go and I can't wait to see what they'll come up with next.

8

Download: Liar's Attire, The Alchemist, Delirious, Things To Place On The Moon
For The Fans Of: The Mars Volta, At the Drive-In, Karnivool
Listen: facebook.com/oddpalace

Release date 25.05.2018
Prime Collective

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