Material: Dressed in their preppie best, Philadelphia-based Palmas played their hearts out with a modern surf-influenced rock sound. The group’s inspiration draws from bands like the Beatles and Nancy Sinatra, to more recent groups like the Growlers and La Luz. While most of the material has a feel-good vibe (even when singing about relationship angst), Palmas pours the requisite amount of intensity into each song. In “I Want To Know (Your Love),” Cain professes almost a teenage anguish for a love experience denied, which in addition to lyric content, can be credited to the overall structure of the song itself: “Out in the desert I search for the truth/I was afraid I would die without you...I want to know your love.” In “You Were My Girl,” another thwarted- love theme, this ballad throws back to early ‘60s pop/rock laced with lightweight self- flagellation. “Down by the shore/you broke my heart in two/I was stupid then/I was just a fool.”
Musicianship: Structurally, the chords are straightforward and the rhythms engaging and easy on the ear. Many of the background guitar licks and solos reference the surf movement, which helped set the stage for future reverb-laden rock guitar solos, while others are more modern and edgy. Cain’s voice is solid; strong and expressive and well suited to this genre of music. He easily plugs into his sweet spot and knows how to make the most of it.
Performance: Though Cain checked in with the crowd from time to time, most of his between- song commentary was off mic with fellow band members. Turning some of that outward, with more audience inclusion, is always an asset, especially when a band is new to most of the audience. Listeners have a curiosity about the band members and what shapes the songs they write. On the plus side, the band conveyed a strong sense of unity and had decent stage presence, which was apparent in their body language, style of dress and overall demeanor.
Summary: Palmas is a band that could take their act in various directions. As performers and songwriters, they can toe the line and keep moving forward on their current path. Because their music is imbued with a party vibe and not too thematically heavy, corporate and private events would also be another avenue to explore. They have recently released their new single "Flowers."
The Players: Kurt Cain, lead vocals; Matthew Young, guitar; Adam Cantiello, guitar; Eric Camarota, bass; Pat Degan, drums.
Photo by Mark Shiwolich
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