Incoming: Wild Palms (AU Magazine, Issue 61)
November 14, 2009, 7:12 pm
Filed under: Features | Tags:


MEMBERS: Lou Phillips(Vocals), Darrel Hawkins(Guitars), Garth Jones(Bass), James Parish(Drums).
FORMATION: Southgate, 2007.
FOR FANS OF: The Cult, These New Puritans, Banhuas, Gang Of Four.
CHECK OUT: Debut Single ‘Over Time’.

Legend has it that in the last days of Rome, shit got a little bit crazy. Erecting downy neck-hair at AU this month, Wild Palms are that perfect anarchy of ideas fit to see off the crumbling empire that is the Noughties. In a matter of weeks the great beast will sinks prostrate into the sea of history in a shroud of dayglo apparel and dog-eared copies of Gang Of Four for Dummies, but if Wild Palms debut single ‘Over Time’ is anything to go by, there’ll be dancing in the streets. As we await further instructions for Decade #2, it’s important we familiarise ourselves with the how’s and why’s of their stinging brand of Gothic-Glam, in case it comes in handy for the impending apocalypse, like bottled water or tinned food.

“I was studying English at Brighton Uni when I met Gaz [bassist Gareth Jones], who was studying fine art painting” explains vocalist Lou Phillips. “He was doing this absurdist, abstract thing and doing it very well. It so happened I was doing the same type of thing with my writing and we ended up living together, so it became our approach to making music”

On return to London the pair teamed up with childhood friend and No Wave fanatic, drummer James Parish. Guitarist Doug Hawkins completes the line-up. Wielding a ferocious talent, Hawkins dark anti-matter, dispatched in lacerating shards across the five available Myspace tracks, really has a way of focusing the mind.

The product of their combined efforts splits the difference between the nervy censure and frigid economy of Post Punk’s most acute acts and the rocking pompadour-Goth of The Cult. It wasn’t long before Dazed and Confused and like-minded tastemakers were posting gushy write-ups, resulting in an a prestigious slot on the BBC’s Emerging Proms showcase, last month.

Despite their artistic background and a former incarnation as Ex Lion Tamers (after the Wire song), Lou is at pains to avoid the art-rock label. “Our art rock pretensions amount to lugging around Gaz’s paintings as an backdrop to the gigs. We’re very serious about what we do but we aren’t going to dictate how people consume our music. We do take inspiration from the likes of Can, Captain Beefheart, The Fall, and [the band’s firm favourite] Billy Childish, but for their hard work and dedication to living for music.”

‘Deep Dive’ a song about escape, that most un-Art-Rock of subject matters is according to Lou, most representative of the direction they are taking. “No matter what people say we aren’t a nihilistic band. Nihilism is a cop out, I think you need to take action . It’s all about the melody and the hypnotic guitars on ‘Deep Dive’. That’s the starting point for us. “Instead of attack, attack attack” he continues “we’re concentrating on what we don’t play. Every night we’d watch [tour-mates] The Warlocks take the smallest of components and build elegance. We started with Post-Punk foundations but the process has dispersed”.

So try and keep up if you can as Wild Palms jerk away from our grasp, leaving us only the impression of a band scrabbling for something unprecedented. They begin Decade #2 by recording a debut album in January. The itinerary is typical of their adventurous spirit. “We are going to Poland with a man we found asleep at our studio. It turns out he’s a genius producer”. John Calvert

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