OCTOBER 8, 1993
the palms EP
A brooding, promising debut from.a two-man band that sounds as if it’s from the Midwest (you know, like maybe Idaho) or Florida—I pictured two gloomy, artistic guys trapped in a small town where nobody understands diem. But they’re actually from LA. Go figure.
This is well-crafted music, recorded in Idaho’s own Piercing Sound Studios. Lead singer/bassist Jeff Martin is a classically trained pianist, and guitarist/drummer John Berry reportedly has been doing the band thing since his early teens. Good they found each other—it takes a lot of discipline and unwavering intention to play sad songs this slowly. (If I were in the band, for instance, I’d want to play these songs really fast, so they’d be over right away, so I could start feeling better.)
Every song here is as gloomy and disaffected as their rides suggest: “Creep,” “Fall Around,” “Gone,” and “You Are There.” I’m not sure I could take a full album of this sort of stuff. Maybe like their aesthetic forebears, Red House Painters and the Blue Nile, Idaho will choose occasionally to leaven the inevitable despondency on their just-out full-length LP, year after year.