"Desolate Son"

(Tarnished Records 2006)Palodine - Desolate Son

It is difficult to believe that Palodine that is described in the band's biography is the same Palodine that made "Desolate Son." Claiming that their band members are the children of Mormon immigrants and preachers, specific Palodine members, like guitarist Michael Aryn and singer Katrina Whitney, cite experience with "shoegazer, gothic, experimental, folk and country." But after a few listens to the band's debut album, everything comes into focus and, clearly, this is the same Palodine.

Pounding instrumentation sets the tone of "Fire in the Field" as Palodine open strongly without giving everything away all at once. Guitar twangs on "Sadlands" as the song deliberately meanders with its blues meets folk melody while "Vengeance" offers a quieter melody. Elsewhere "Sugar Water Orphan" sees the band demonstrate their power on the full and dynamic song where a well placed guitar solo takes control towards the end as the instrumentation gains momentum before the strongly rhythmic and twangy melody of "Frozen" will surely have your attention. Palodine keep "How to Use" an interesting listen with gritty instrumentation and pattering percussion. "I left a note I thought you'd want to know/How I felt and how I went," Whitney sings on "Morgantown" amongst darkly melodic fingerpicking guitar.

Less gloomy and moody and more like a somber caution, "Desolate Son" is full of folk based melodies that come to life as dark, rich melodies and carefully layered instrumentation. Whitney's voice, vaguely hinting of Natalie Merchant, smoothly sweeps through the music, offering both delicacy and strength while constantly hinting at something more than first appearances might suggest. Palodine's debut album "Desolate Son" offers many things, but wisely doles them out bit by bit and draws you in.


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