If there is a point where future meets past, and east meets west, it’s the new PALMAS album, To The Valley. Coming to headphones near you Friday, November 13, the Philly band has gathered all the metallic sounds of East Coast rock, shipped them across the country to the sandy beaches of California, and time traveled a few decades back to produce a blended sound of old school surf rock.
The album kicks off with a 30-second intro titled “Buzzcut.” The song leads with the a quick drumstick tempo-set and dives straight into the classic guitar slide all surf rock fans know and love. It’s a perfect glimpse into the album but and an even better view into what it feels like to sit in the middle of a PALMAS jam session.
From “Buzzcut,” the album moves seamlessly into the hit single “I Want To Know (Your Love),” a song that was released earlier this year and only left fans wanting more. It’s got a quick start that jumps right into the first verse then glides into a slow and melodic chorus of “I want to know, I want to know your love.” The song switches back and forth from bursts of high pitched, choppy verses to smooth choruses, and it doesn’t take more than a few seconds before there’s nothing left to do but surrender and sway back and forth.
PALMAS sticks with the slow and solid melodies for most of the album, including “Take My Hand,” where they’ve mixed things up with more chops here and there. There’s some added classic beach bash guitar, but the song has a more somber tone than the rest of its precursors. Then, just when we’ve gotten all too comfortable with the easy motion of the ocean, PALMAS surprises us with an upbeat tune that will take anyone right back to the time of dance halls, big hair and poodle skirts, in “Sweet Water.” It’s lighthearted, fun, and impossible to sit still to.
The last two tracks bring us down from the jive of a 1950’s dance hall and back to the laid back rhythm of the California coast line. “Better Guy,” full of “oos” and “ahs,” pines for romantic drives along the shore and dives into the “deep blue sea,” while “San Francisco Bay” “oos” again, this time to with the hopes of bringing a long lost love back home, to the San Francisco Bay.
The album finishes with a personal sign off from the band, which we can only image is exactly what it would feel like to be front and center at a live performance. There’s no doubt PALMAS has mastered what it means to be a 21st century nostalgic surf rock band. In To The Valley, they have found a way to not only rejuvenate the timeless sound that inspired so many before them, but they make it all their own along the way. To The Valley marks a new era for PALMAS and classic rock lovers everywhere, and we’re sure it’s one you won’t want to miss.