Review: Wild Palms – Until Spring

After listening to the debut album by Wild Springs four times now, I was surprised to read some of the press on it which – in many cases – ranges between the downright negative and the lukewarm. Perhaps it’s because their early forays were so hyped, that they are now greeted with crushing disappointment. ‘Until Spring’ may contain more than a whiff of glum 1980’s rock about it but within its dense arrangements lies much imagination and individualism.

Admittedly, ‘Draw In Light’ is a fairly unassuming way to start. Featuring a New Order-style bass undertow, the song itself recalls any number of Britpop acts. However, this is the genius of Wild Palms because ‘Until Spring’ is the dictionary definition of a “grower” as it reveals more layers then you would initially give them credit for.

The first indication is ‘The Caretaker’, a real slow burner of a track with a steady pace and a sense of increasing menace. Its arrangement is inventive and brave. ‘LHC’ manages to be both epic and subtle as frontman Lou Hill’s gentle tones merge with the post-rock coda. They even manage to get away with a track called ‘The (Never-Ceasing-Ever-Increasing) Cavalcade’ and turn it into a hypnotic moment of experimental wonder. As if to celebrate their anti-commercial stance, even the arresting chorus to ‘Pale Fire’ is driven by a droning guitar and only ‘To The Lighthouse’ – brilliant, thrilling song though it is – can claim to go straight for the jugular.

So the main “failing” of ‘Until Spring’ is its murky post-punk outlook and its subsequent lack of obvious hits. However, this is a group who have clearly set out to impress on the strength of an atmospheric, multi-layered long player rather than the odd few anthems.

Web Sites:
Wild Palms Official Site
Wild Palms MySpace

Further Listening:
Wild Beasts, Six.By Seven

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