Palms, Unsurprisingly, Sounds Like Chino Fronting Isis

  • Kip Wingerschmidt

I love me some supergroups. From folk heroes Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to the mighty classic rock era supergroup Blind Faith (featuring Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker & Steve Winwood) to 90s era Temple of the Dog (members of Pearl Jam & Soundgarden, duh) to the goddamn Traveling Wilburys, Slash’s Snakepit and beyond, there’s something about a supergroup that always yields a certain level of exhilarating unknown potential.

What would it sound like if so-and-so from that awesome band got together with what’s-his-face from that other great band and they made a BRAND NEW BAND with Johnny-whatever from that other sick group…? This kind of question is always fun to ponder, and sometimes unexpected combinations will pop out of nowhere to (hopefully) tickle one’s fancy…

For those of you who haven’t heard, Palms is essentially Isis (minus Aaron Turner & Michael Gallagher) with Deftones’ singer Chino Moreno supplying vocal stylings on top. There aren’t too many major surprises up in heah; it basically sounds like you’d expect, which in this case ain’t such a bad thing at all — this is a moody, soulfully evocative album that creates several rather haunting moments.

Unfortunately for me, a handful of the songs really do feel like just that — a collection of great moments fused together with blander transitions. As to be expected, the music is lighter than standard Isis fare — generally not a bad thing in the least, as far as I’m concerned. But the cap on the thunder doesn’t help ramp up the vibrancy factor either.

However, a few of these tunes totally shine through from start to finish and completely grab your heart with the delicacy and care of a top-rated surgeon (album opener “Future Warrior” is my jam, with third track “Mission Sunset” close behind). I mean, come on — it’s fucking ISIS WITH CHINO FRONTING, how bad could it be? You have the majority of a band that largely created a distinctive style being fronted by a singer who largely created a distinctive style with his respective instrument (his voice, dummy!) — this is definitely worth a listen, whether you’re a fan of ISIS and/or Deftones or not; it’s perfect music to help you melt into a lover (ideally in a plush hotel room while on ecstasy, but whatevz).

If you’re in California, do yourself a favor and check out one of the stargazing, dream metal band’s five upcoming shows from San Diego to San Francisco (last date with System of a Down, whoa!); dates can be found on Palms’ website.  Hopefully we will get to witness these tasty soundscapes live here on the East Coast soon enough…

Stream the PALMS album on Spin Magazine’s website.


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