Palaxy Tracks

Record review

Texas Platters

Palaxy Tracks

Twelve Rooms (Peek-a-Boo)

After the moody Cedarland, this was to be Palaxy Tracks' big rock album, a return to the masterful pedal-fests of 2001's The Long Wind Down, before the band left Austin for Chicago. Not bloody likely. The rollicking drums of "Speech With Animals" are but a red herring, obscuring the opening chapter of Twelve Rooms, a loosely themed collection of musical short stories brave enough to bob heads. Main man Brandon Durham's lyrical preoccupation with home – physical place vs. emotional space – hits new levels of articulation here. Twelve Rooms dwells both in an old empty house and well-worn relationships, in those make-or-break moments of intense emotional density. "I see your eyes, they're telling me we're done," laments Durham on "Up My Sleeve," musically taut, nervous, and fast-paced. In "Legs on the Ladder," "Lamplighter," and "Dead Language," Twelve Rooms is that big rock album, yet it's also Palaxy Tracks' most spare and intimate recording in spots, like funereal Leonard Cohen cover "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" and the ornate, cello-laced "Me & You & Him." Twelve Rooms is Palaxy Tracks' most fully realized work yet, and hopefully the one that gets the word out about these Austin expats. (Palaxy Tracks plays the Parish Friday, Sept. 16.)

***

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