Music is an escape, or at least, that's what we're told. You see a lot of people live pretty hectic lives, and a lot of us can't appreciate what music does for us at any given moment. Not every artist has this ability, but those that are able to whisk us away from the mundane or terrible lives we lead are worth keeping around, because the ability to do such a thing is hard in its own right. Sometimes its because of the fun atmosphere a song can convey, and sometimes, its a magical, almost ethereal quality a band can produce that transports you away from our chaotic world and into one much more respectable. Burning Palms seem to harness this power with Church Of Ra.
Hailing from Arizona, it seems Burning Palms have taken the magic the states desert landscape displays and harnessed it in their music. Fun, but spooky, Palms play a psychedelic form of surf-based-indie rock that many people try to harness nowadays, but almost none seem able to master. They are able to have their sound stand out because of these 'magical' qualities, and it's a refreshing reminder that maybe you can still beat that dead horse with a stick afterall, so long as that stick is a little different.
"Maze", with its simple yet catchy guitar riff and reverberated vocals, takes the cake on this album. It's one of the more energetic songs they play here, and though it doesn't have anything musically that really stands out above the others, what it does is manage to mold all their sounds together in one neat little package just right. It sounds a bit Best Coast-ish, but comparisons are going to happen, especially in this genre. "San Pedro" is equally impressive, but really feels more psychobilly than anything else.
"Drag" doesn't live up to its name and delivers a pretty strong, but methodical, tune. It's slower, but the chord progression is excellent, and the overlapping vocals really add another level to their already impressive sound. "Pyramids" and "Thorns" continue to almost seemingly non-stop assault of good music on this album, delivering short but memorable songs that live up to these guys expectations. It's nice they try to vary up speeds as well and don't try to stick with a quick, punk-as-fuck approach or a slow, drugged out of your mind approach.
About the only blotch on the album is "Church Of Ra", the title track. It holds true to some of the same style points that define these guys, but there's something really missing here for me. I would not go as far as to say it's a horrible track, but it didn't seem to garner the same powerful imagery the others were producing, and when a band like Burning Palms work so well at creating moods, it's a bit of a let down.
Church Of Ra really impressed with its ability to transport you away from everything, but considering the songs were great on top of that, it really made it stand out. It's a dog eat dog world out there, and when you're slinging a similar sound a million other bands are trying to, you'd better be damn sure you find the niche that carves you a piece of the fame cake. Burning Palms have found there niche, now its just a matter of time before they get their cake. - Shane
-This release is able to be heard on bandcamp, but it is actually a cassette release, which you can buy from Lolipop Records. Here's the bandcamp link: http://lolipoprecords.bandcamp.com/album/church-of-ra-cass