Palm Reader - Bad Weather (Album)

Thirteen seconds. That's how long we have to wait before Josh Mckeown's vocals tear through our eardrums, infiltrating our brain like a malicious virus, intent on destruction. The heightened awareness, emotion and intensity throughout Bad Weather are unlike anything we've experienced from an album before now; and the composition and fine-tuning of the entire record is nothing short of admirable. It's an album which we'd loved to have been present throughout the writing process for, because it's quite unfathomable how five people could create something this intense, this powerful and this mind-blowing without some form of exterior, supernatural shit contributing to it. Sort of like the magical 'Chemical X' which Professor Utonium chucks into the mix to produce The Powerpuff Girls.

Spineless has just had a video released featuring close ups of various parts of the band's anatomy, and whilst the video is....odd, to say the least, the track itself is sure to blow the cobwebs out of your hair. Live, it is an incredible experience, and whether you want to or not, you WILL find yourself screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs. No matter how much effort we put in though, we can't quite seem to pull off Josh's passion. Maybe we're just not cut out to be vocalists, but the more likely explanation is he is just THAT fantastic.

Unwanted Guest, Bitter Hostess and Noble Host (Grace pts 1, 2 and 3) are spread apart from one another in the album, but when listened to one after the other they take the listener on a whirlwind adventure. Unwanted Guest is the album's opener, inducing shivers, butterflies, stomach somersaults and a general sense of 'Holy shit, this is going to be incredible.' Bitter Hostess is a cruel mistress indeed; no vocals, just a haunting, eerie melody teasing of things to come. Noble Host, though, is the most different we have ever seen Palm Reader...and probably the most different we'll ever see from them in the future. Being a track which, unfortunately, won't be played live by the boys, it's still surprisingly easy to enter the 'zone' - you know, where your eyes glaze over, you feel this sense of accomplishment as if the track has just concluded something in your life that you didn't realise you were still waiting for an answer to. It's a missing piece, and we didn't even realise we were missing it. The diversity shown by the band is astounding; when a group of musicians is so damn good at their preferred style of music it's often a little half-hearted, and slightly unsuccessful when they attempt to deviate from the formula that works for them. Noble Host, however, expresses Palm Reader in a different light, but not a light any less bright than the rest of the album. Simply mindblowing stuff, honestly.

If you've heard of Palm Reader before now, you're probably already familiar with the sixth track on the album, Seeing and Believing Are Two Different Things. The album version has been tweaked, but only slightly; the original version hit the nail on the head as it was so don't ruin what's already perfect right? Regardless, the tidier approach just adds a little sheen to the track. Not too much, Consuela's not been round this one with lemon pledge, but it's just a nice dusting off to ensure it flows well with the rest of the album.

It's a difficult thing to say, being someone who writes for a living, but there really are no words to describe the sheer technical perfection that Palm Reader display throughout Bad Weather. How on earth did five such sublimely talented people decide to form a band, whilst living in a reasonable distance from one another to maintain the inter-band chemistry that is so important to a band's success? It just seems a little like the hands of fate have sorted this one out for us. About time, too; there's a distinct lack of bands of this calibre emerging into the UK alternative scene. If you've not listened to Palm Reader yet, fucking do it. Honestly, you'll kick the shit out of yourself if you don't.