For two cousins that resided in separate states for the writing and recording of their debut album, Forever, they’ve not only done a marvelous job crafting a solid record but they’ve made psychedelic pop accessible for the masses.
Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme are the dual state-based, Painted Palms. Donohue resides in San Francisco and Prudhomme near his home in Louisiana. They struck their first big break when Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes discovered their first ep Canopy. Barnes asked the duo to tour with Of Montreal, leading to opening sets with other big acts.
Forever is not your ordinary psychedelic pop record that many artists have unsuccessfully tried to emulate in the recent years. This is a record that from start to finish feels like an authentic journey through early 60s psychedelic pop. At times you’ll feel like you’re listening to an early Pink Floyd record infused with a touch of Beatles pop gold. You’ll never feel like they are copying their influences. The current technology is very apparent in their work.
The record starts as though you’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and ended up in some magical fairy land. You instantly understand the title of the song, “Too High,” after listening to the first few lyrics of this song. The aggravated synths matched with a perfect beat and a luscious melody are absolutely divine at times.
It’s as if “Here It Comes” was stitched perfectly to its predecessor without missing a beat. It sounds like Donohue took took a nap and woke up refreshed with another genius melody to pick up where he left off.
“Hypnotic” diverts the record a bit but not in a radical way. There’s broken lyrics, broken broken synths and a steady beat that on paper sound horrible but coming through the stereo it’s majestic and as the title suggests, hypnotic.
The 4th track on the record “Forever” is one of the more stellar tracks written. The crunchy guitar, stuttering beat, ooohs/aahhhs and liquid synth affects bring this psychedelic pop album full circle. “Thinking about myself too much I can see that I don’t know what to be,” sings the self-proclaimed narcissist Prudhomme.
“Soft Hammer” is reminiscent of Burt Bacharach in a gorgeous new outfit. The building clammer of the synth beats on swirling sounds put your traditional standard in the blender and make it a beautiful mess. And we end where we started with a beautiful and sad vocal by Prudhomme.
Again Prudhomme claims, “I spend way too much time thinking about myself,” but that’s okay because again he created another perfectly crafted psychedelic rock-pop gem here. “Carousel” is really about the love of his beautiful friends and the love of himself. I would probably sing the same thing if I was making such great music.
What does one do when they hallucinate? Apparently write a song about it! “Not Really There” is another pop song infused with the psychedelic awesome sauce we’ve all come to expect on this record. By this point we’ve come to expect that the songs are going to be short, sweet and incredible.
Lindsey Buckingham is channeled on “Hope That You See It Now.” An intermission song that is very similar to the great Fleetwood Mac track “That’s All For Everyone.”
“Spinning Signs” is possibly one of the greatest psychedelic synth driven pop song ever written. The reverb on the synth blended with big beats and a hypnotic vocal sound similar to Tame Impala at times but we’re not complaining.
Things slow down a bit on “Sleepwalking” and it’s much needed after a roller coaster ride of some of stunning psychedelia.
“Empty Gun” immediately grabs your attention with the can-like kick drum on beat plowing its way into the sea of sounds that Donohue has been so adroit in crafting.
“Angels” begins slow but ends with a triumphant and grand exit to this record, which on our scale gets a 10 out of 10 stars.
Bravo Painted Palms, you’ve created one of the most FUZZworthy albums we’ve listened to in a while.
SOUNDS: early 60s psychedelic pop – revised/updated, Tame Impala
FEELS: cashmere and cotton candy
TASTES: ice cream on a very warm day
1. Too High
2. Here It Comes
5. Soft Hammer
7. Not Really There
8. Hope That You See It Now
9. Spinning Signs
11. Empty Gun
PAINTED PALMS LINKS: