November 22, 2000

Idaho - Hearts of Palm
(Idaho Music)

Hearts of Palm, like the last two Idaho releases (Alas and the Forbidden EP), feature Dan Seta playing guitar and Jeff Martin playing everything else (except for a few guest appearances). This new album is being released on their own Idaho Music label which also recently released the band's live album People Like Us Should Be Stopped, recorded in 1993.

"To Be The One" starts the album off with piano, drums, and soft, subtle guitar background noise. The piano and drums completely drop out just as Jeff's serene and downhearted singing comes in. In the chorus, all the elements come together again with the guitar playing higher in the mix (using the same guitar sound Martin and Seta used on the Alas album).

"Hearts of Palm," the album's title track, is, at first, made up solely of Martin's singing and lazily strummed guitar. After a slight pause, the strumming picks up its pace and starts to form the song. When the drums, bass, and second guitar part comes in, Martin's singing gets more impassioned than on any of the last few albums. "Don't let this feeling go away, don't let this feeling go away," he pleads right before the song cuts out to a keyboard sound with haunting, buried vocals slowly repeating the word "heart."

The album ends with "Under," a soothing, slow moving instrumental that is just as much about the space between the instruments as it is about the actual piano and guitar parts. Filled with atmospheric sounds mixed with piano, bass, and guitar, "Under" is the perfect end to the album--fading out into the sound of crickets.

Hearts of Palm is a must-have for Idaho fans. For those unfamiliar with the band, it is a wonderful introduction to Idaho's beauty.

daron gardner

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