Super sweet? Palomar's hyper power pop
Imagine, if you will, a dark and stormy night in the lab of Dr. Frankenstein. Having already created life once, he turns his attention to giving form and free will to something even more challenging, the ethereal world of descriptive words and phrases!
Not wanting to bite off more than he can chew (again) he decides to start small, and seeing his daughter’s teen magazines strewn around the lab, makes his choice. After the switch is thrown, the mad cackling of Dr. Frankenstein subsides, the smoke clears, and there stand, at one corner of the lab, four young 20somethings who call themselves Palomar.
Palomar are the walking personification of “sass.”
From Palomar’s press you’d have to suspect that either the members of the group have all had especially traumatic childhoods/adolescenses they don’t want to talk about, or perfectly sedate and easy-going ones that aren’t worthy of so much as passing nods. You get no clue to who the band is from their bio.
Take a deep breath: In New York in April 1998, the original three members of the group– Rachel, Sasha, and Matt (no last names)—formed Palomar and released two cassettes and later a 14-track CD; then a second guitarist and vocalist, Christina– from the group Trixie Belden—came on board, Sasha left the band, and Sarah from the “non-metal” Philadelphia group Overlord joined up to take her place.
To help you keep track, currently the band is Rachel on lead guitar, Sarah on bass, Christina on second guitar, and Matt taking up the time-honored position as the male drummer of an otherwise all-female group.
The band play an amazingly cute (fairly “twee,” to drop an indie-rock term on ya) version of that power-pop sound we all know and love. Think the Breeders minus the weed and on uppers, sucking on helium, and you have an idea of Palomar’s sound.
“Quirky” might be a descriptive adjective which, brought to life, might embody Palomar-– or subject us all to another Kiss reunion tour. Everyone is fine on their respective instruments, probably not good enough to give lessons at the Music and Arts Center when they break up or get old, but acceptable nonetheless– and the songwriting is not too shabby.
The best thing about Palomar, though, is the vocals. On some of the tracks on the group’s latest release, Palomar II, at least three members of the group are singing at once, including their outnumbered drummer, sometimes trading off lines, sometimes doing tight harmonies– producing a sound easily worthy of becoming the theme song of some hip new Nickelodeon cartoon show.
Palomar is great fun to listen to in the comfort of your own home, and reportedly even more fun live. If you can stand the danger of late-onset diabetes from their confectioners’ delivery, you’ll have a great time.
Palomar, Elekibass, 63 Crayons, VHS and the Babies at Tokyo Rose, March 6. $5, 10:30pm.