When Fake Palms released their self-titled LP on Buzz Records in 2015, the band had only just formed. Born out of the bedroom recordings of guitarist/vocalist Michael le Riche, the band emerged as something delicate yet razor sharp, seducing the listener with hazy melodies, only to perforate them with barreling rhythms and sparkling cascades of shrill, post-punk guitars. Now fully settled into their surroundings, Fake Palms have returned with Pure Mind (released this fall by Buzz and Pleasance Records), a turbulent excursion into high concept punk and bruised dream pop, pulling us yet deeper into the muck of their reality.
After 2016’s Heavy Paranoia EP saw Fake Palms push at the edges of their musical palette, working with Greys’ Shehzaad Jiwani and producer Josh Korody (Weaves, Dilly Dally, Fucked Up) to populate their universe, the band was approached by Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh to begin focusing their energy for a second full-length record. Pure Mind is Fake Palms’ most expansive and diverse work to date, tied together by the band’s road-tested and frequently astounding musicianship, and scaffolded by the inventive production provided by Walsh in collaboration with le Riche and Korody.
Right from the blistering opener “Fear,” on which the band construct a lattice-work of chiming guitars over almost three continuous minutes of intricate full kit rolls from drummer par excellence Simone TB, the band finds ways to consistently surprise while retaining the urgency that underpinned their first LP. There are countless stunning moments, from the unstoppable psychedelic catchiness of lead single “I’m Not There,” to the existential anthem “Glass Walls,” in which le Riche soothes us with the chorus refrain “Everything remains” while guitars tumble and shatter around him, and the striking minimalism and electronic elements on the beautiful mid-album breakdown “Perfect Day.” The band nimbly balances abrasive instincts, pop-leanings, and an overriding urge to push forward in the dark.
“When we started working on the album, I decided that I wanted to put out the songs I had that sounded the furthest from what we had released until this point,” says le Riche. “I wanted to do things as differently as possible. We took slower songs, ones with less guitar, and tried to do things that weren’t expected of us. We wanted to challenge the idea of what we do as a band, and we wanted to challenge ourselves. I hope that as a band that’s something we never stop doing. We’re at our best when we’re pushing toward the next thing.”