Album Review: Palisades - 'I'm Not Dying Today'

11 March 2012 | 10:10 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A decent debut release that proves Palisades are definitely a band to look out for in the future.

Palisades debut release, I’m Not Dying Today provides a neat, 20 minute preview of what the band has to offer. While at times their sound may become predictable, the way the band combines all the elements of this post-hardcore-meets-pop-rock sound proves that they are definitely a band to look out for.

The basis of their sound paints a rather repetitive picture, like you have heard it all before and there can’t be anything new to gain. In its most basic form, Palisades combines bouncy guitars, chugging breakdowns, catchy pop hooks, sugary sweet clean vocals and danceable electronic lines all packaged neatly together by near perfect studio production. Don’t let this fool you though, Palisades are definitely a new band worth checking out.

The EP begins in a predictable manner, "Disclosure" opens with a bass-y dubstep intro that makes way for raspy screams and chugging guitars. Both these elements are featured heavily throughout the release, constantly placed side by side, Palisades contrasting their heavier post hardcore sound with a poppier, dance sensibility. For the most part these two elements become an enjoyable staple of the Palisades sound; while it may not be the most original musical fusion it definitely adds a flare and flavour that will help listeners of many genres find their music easily accessible.

The clear stand out factor of this band is their vocalist Louis Miceli. His vocals add a third element to the band’s sound; a sugary, sweet, pop element. His crisp clean vocals are flawless and perfectly fit the pop hooks they are delivering. Having pop influenced clean vocals over the top of heavy, chuggy instruments is also not a genre defying move, but Miceli’s vocals can definitely stand up with some of the best the genre has to offer. Not to mention the band’s catchy hooks will get stuck in your head long after the EP is over. That is a strong point of the EP. The way the band combines all it’s elements, from the heavy breakdowns laden with raspy screams to the electronic, dance lines and the bouncy, pop hooks, every element seems to have it’s place and the final product is an extremely enjoyable one that will have you hitting repeat on the EP soon after it is over.

However, the EP is not perfect, and it definitely has its downfalls. At times it seems the band are too reliant on electronic sounds which causes them to drown out the actual instruments the band are playing. It makes it difficult to imagine their sound translating well into a live setting. It is evident that the band members are strong instrumentalists and can create energetic, creative environments on their own without the overbearing and unnecessary extra use of programmed sounds.

The EP is at it’s strongest when the programmed sounds are toned down. “Immortal” is definitely a high point for the band and sums up their best qualities in a 3-minute package. The opening dance line is simple, making way for a gang chant that live audiences will love, before a chaos of chugging instruments kicks in. The electronic sound is a lot subtler here and fits nicely between the elements. As soon as Miceli’s vocals kick in he immediately has the listener’s attention, his sweet vocals perfectly complimented by the heavy instruments carrying them. The switch to screams, by guitarist Xavier Adames, provide a nice break and add a heavier element to their sound. The track also features the release’s strongest song writing effort. The lyrics are catchy, honest and memorable without being gimmicky.

While at times the band’s songs are hard to distinguish from one another and can almost blend into one 20-minute track (were it not for the super abrupt and blunt endings to each song), it is definitely a release that shows a band with potential, who will fit in nicely with their peers.

On first listen, Palisades’ debut EP I’m Not Dying Today could easily be written off as another generic Rise Records release. In short it is 20 minutes of bouncy guitars, chugging breakdowns, sugary pop hooks, crisp clean vocals and trancey electronic lines all tied together by neat, studio- perfect production. However, it is obvious this band has something to prove, and the music they are making is catchy and shows that this six piece are definitely a band to keep an eye on in the future.

1. Wolves

2. Bury It

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3. Disclosure

4. Immortal

5. Seamless Ending