Best Songs: Aaron, Black Friday, Worthy, Killer, Urban Drip
FCC Violations: Bullshit, Stick N Poke
There are some tasty tracks to behold on this laidback release but also some overreaching breaks in the record that seem a bit forced. Fronted by Ellen Kempner, Palehound takes a self-displeasure approach with songs that seem to highlight the singer’s personal experiences with topics like body issues, past relationships, and loss.
Hailing from Boston, this is Palehound’s third release and from my understanding, it covers some of the same topics from prior albums and encompasses a similar sound, if not the same. Interestingly, the band started off as a solo project by Kempner and was not intended to leave the confines of her home, but it quickly transitioned into the live-stage space. This group is talented and you can definitely vibe easily to the songs across the discography. After all, Palehound won the Boston Music Award’s new artist of the year in 2015 during its infancy.
I can definitely see the appeal to Black Friday’s opening track Company, but I can’t quite get on board with it. It’s…what do the kids say today…cringy? Yeah, just a little bit but the instrumentation is pretty awesome. I’m not really a fan of the narration style of it and it deterred me at first until the riffs came in, which made it listenable. The instruments help in the transition to the next song so I can’t really be that mad at it overall.
The next track Aaron was pretty awesome. It reminded me of old Brand New and definitely brought back those 2005 high school memories. The mix of strumming and picking, along with the vocal harmonies blend perfectly together. It’s really just an excellent piece of rock n’ roll and incorporates a garage-type sound.
Kempner does a fantastic job of executing choruses and you start to realize that when the self-titled track Black Friday comes in early on the album. They consistently pull the listener in with a sense of airiness and spacious sounds. There is a purpose to them and they flow with intention but without intrusion.
If not for the abrupt breaks of experimentation involving spoken word poetry, I would be totally on board. I don’t want to seem like I’m hating and I understand that I come across that way but if I get a feeling of awkwardness from an album, it’s going to leave a bad taste in my mouth. With that being said, it’s hard for me to refrain from listing off all the good songs off this record because the number is bountiful.
Definitely, give Black Friday a listen. Though the second half of the album takes a backseat to the first, it has a lot to work with for the avid rock enthusiast. The band has a romantic intrigue about them and as far as I can tell, is very consistent in its endeavors.