The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Reviews

Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, March 16, 2007, Music


All Things, Forests (Misra)

There's a strangely subdued vibe to Palomar's fourth album, which also serves as the Brooklyn quartet's Misra debut. Make no mistake: This is a very strong LP, with Palomar rivaling the Essex Green for the title of Most Underrated Indie Rock Band Ever. There's just something unsettling about music with pop aspirations that doesn't quite reach that genre's manufactured energy levels. The cheerful chatter and countdown preceding opener "Bury Me Closer," a lullaby about death, belies the fact that All Things, Forests seems sketched largely in charcoal-gray hues. The disconnect happens between the instrumentation and vocals. "How to Beat Dementia" clashes and booms, but Rachel Warren's vocals are so understated as to be nearly nonchalant. Even closer "Alone," despite its Polyphonic choral leanings, still holds back. All Things, Forests is an exercise in the tension between exuberance and cool, joy and darkness, seeing the forest for the trees. (Saturday, March 17, Habana Calle 6 Patio, 11pm)


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