Metal band Palm Reader’s upcoming album Braille will undoubtedly be their breakthrough and could even see them become the next ‘big thing’ in the scene.
The design and character of this album are unique. It combines a variety of different elements from across the hardcore scene which all breathe fresh air into an overly saturated market. This album really demonstrates the progress that the band have made since their previous releases and the potential they have to break from relative obscurity. The band’s drummer Dan Olds, in an interview with Wavebyte’s Aaron Jackson, shed some light on the hopes and dreams for this album, emphasising the desire for a ‘future [which] is as bright as [we the fans] make it.’ (You can read the full interview below!)
The album’s structure and tone seem to have been carefully constructed by the band. Braille has a strong opening, bursting onto the scene with the hot and heavy, and arguably the best song on the record, Swarm. Instantly, from the moment the audience encounters the very first note, they are met with a powerful punch that builds hype. As mentioned by Olds, if he was to present one track that he would say defines their sound he ‘would show Swarm as it encapsulates everything [they] are as a band.’ Because of this, it is clear to see why it is such a focal point of the album and probably the reason behind it being chosen as a lead single.
The rest of the album boasts other standout tracks such as Inertia, Like A Wave and Coalesce which continue the strong and hardcore sound introduced from the start. The fact that these songs were not released as singles prior to the album is surprising, they definitely have the character and potential to stand as individual releases. Intermingled amongst these tracks are several interlude pieces such as Breach which helps the pacing and gives the listener time to breathe. This not only highlights the band’s ability to integrate a variety of sounds but also showcases their raw talent and potential. Songs like Breach and Clockwork really maintain a melodic-hardcore feel, which contrast their heavier tracks, creating sounds that wouldn’t be out of place on a Being As An Ocean or La Dispute album. These similarities are in no way a negative and should not brand Palm Reader as using an unoriginal brush. Their tracks have a unique Palm Reader design which is defined by their poignant vocals, rhythms and riffs. Olds himself says that ‘as a band, we all have different creative drives’, this is evident in the wide diversity of sounds and song elements which we encounter. This variety really helps the album have a balance, there is both energy and feeling in every track. Rather than sticking with just one area of their genre, they delve into other parts of the scene to further establish themselves as a band that should have a spot in everyone’s playlists.
The finite touches of this album really shine through when compared with their previous work. This is not to discredit their existing discography, but the sound design and style of this collection could easily elevate this band into the top-tiers of the metal/hardcore scene. Olds’ drive to ‘constantly improve’ and ‘move forward’ is demonstrated in the progression seen from their previous album to now. Although Palm Reader do not have a small following, with Olds himself noting how they played ‘Download in 2013′, there is always progress to be made. Recently, smaller bands with cult-like following such as Cardinals Pride have been bursting onto the hardcore/metal scene with new material and Palm Reader, with this highly anticipated forthcoming album, are likely to join them as rising stars. A new era of metal seems to be dawning, and with Braille, Palm Reader have an advantage.
Beyond the album’s potential, the meaning behind it also incredibly promising. Palm Reader are following in the footsteps of other hardcore bands like Casey, who, in their recent, releases have made the move to discuss more challenging issues within the lyrics. Dan Olds explained that the ‘overall message’ of Braille is to explain ‘that even in the extremely dark times in your life, there is some light at the end of the tunnel’; as he elaborates ‘everyone in the band has been there at some stage in their life’ and that it is essential that the album boasted ‘a positive message on top of a few damn good riffs’ (of which there are many). Breaking away from the generic lyrics which exist in a great deal of modern mainstream pop and punk/rock music is brave and can only be commended.
I will end this article just as Palm Reader end their album; on a cliffhanger (of sorts). The final track of the album, A Lover, A Shadow, ends with a long and drawn out combination of bass and drums, alternating between two notes in a pumped-up rhythm. Although not necessarily what they were aiming to achieve, this instils a message that Palm Reader are far from finished. The potential which this album has is immense and the noble message which it stands for only furthers this ending. Olds’ wish to move on from ‘shitty pubs’ is likely to become a reality when the album lands and only my best wishes can be sent, although I doubt they will need them with such a strong album.
By George D. Knight
Introduce us to Palm Reader! How did you guys start out?
Palm Reader started as an idea between Josh, Posh, and Sam who was disappointed/pissed off with the state of the British music scene in 2011 and a common love of The Bronx, Cancer Bats, and Gallows and wanted to make music that they actually wanted to hear, later on, Andy and myself joined the band in early and late 2012 respectively and we’ve still been pushing on with that exact same idea.
Congratulations on the completion of Braille! How is the release campaign going so far?
Thank you. Yeah, so far it’s been our best release cycle, currently we’ve only released Swarm and it’s already eclipsed most songs we’ve released in terms of reaction and numbers (streams and views) which has blown us away and given us the drive to make the most of this album as we believe we’ve made something special.
Watch Swarm Here: https://youtu.be/0v_m0B8gHJk
Ideologically, what is the overall message of Braille? Would you guys say that you have a story to tell?
I think what Josh is conveying lyrically is that even in the extremely dark times in your life, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, and you can get through whatever it is that has put you that dark place. I know everyone in the band has been there at some stage in their life, so will every human on the planet. It’s a positive message on top of a few damn good riffs.
What specifically influences your craft? (Not necessarily just music).
As a band we all have different creative drives; mine is to be constantly improve, challenge myself, and try not to stagnate. I always want to move forward and be looking towards the next tour or our next move as a band.
When introducing people to your music, what song should I show them first? What is your quintessential track?
That’s a good one! I guess I would show them Swarm as it’s encapsulates everything we are as a band; whether it be Josh’s cracking singing voice in the chorus, or the odd timed yet catchy chorus guitar work that Andy whacks out, or the mental uncalled-for breakdown towards to end of the song. In my opinion, it shows everything we are about.
What has been the biggest struggle in your career so far?
I’d have to say the biggest struggle so far is how little we’ve progressed in terms of shows, it’s always nice to see “Palm Reader are UK’s best secret” and “you guys are so underrated” but when it comes to it we’re 3 albums deeps still playing in shitty pubs.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Playing Download in 2013 was a big highlight. Without sounding cliché, it was a dream come true, and hopefully, we will do again. Another highlight is being a young British band on our 3rd album, that doesn’t happen too often; it’s either a band that reach their 3rd album and realise their hype and creativity are completely spent, or the band are great, but the music industry is too busy focusing on the former, and unfortunately the band don’t get given the credit they deserve and split up.
How bright is Palm Reader’s future – what are the plans?
Our future is as bright as you make it, being totally honest with you we need you guys, (fans of the band) to share our music around, come to our shows, tell people who think might like our sound to listen to us and hopefully like us so we can grow as a band, because without fans we are nothing.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
When it’s all over I want to be remembered as a band that actually gave a fuck and gave it everything they had, a band who put all their creativity and hard work ethic into this band and made it happen for themselves.