Published Aug 28, 2015Fuzzy and grungy, bombastic and loud, Fake Palms are melodious tune makers with traditional pop sensibilities living in a world of overheated amps. Inevitably, they've drawn accurate comparisons to Canadians METZ and Viet Cong, but what sets Fake Palms apart from their peers is also what makes their self-titled debut so captivating: a structured, more focused approach to songwriting. Unlike other dream-scene bands, Michael le Riche — the group's founder and main writer — has written a collection of muddy textured pop songs with clearly delineated beginnings, middles and ends.
Le Riche began what turned out to be Fake Palms in 2011; what is now a kind of Toronto all-star team originated in le Riche's bedroom as simple mixes made with a guitar, laptop and a broken drum machine. Today, Fake Palms includes Simone TB (Slim Twig) on drums, Lane Halley (Hooded Fang) on second guitar and Patrick Marshall (Burning Love) on bass. The sound the foursome makes is borne from le Riche's desire for rawness: "Straight off the floor, no back tracks, no samples."
That spontaneous natural energy is felt from the outset with the pulse-beating drums of album opener "Fever Dreams." The untraditional time signature on "Sparkles" is an interesting demonstration of the band's synchronicity and complexity, and a caution to those that may ignorantly label Fake Palms a garage band; that would understates the band's precision. The sound is carefully crafted and surprisingly expressive considering the fuzz, and although Le Riche's vocals aren't always audible, the mood and emotions here are clearly articulated by introductory riffs and harmonious choruses (none more so than on "Estates").
So while the sound is a little murky, Fake Palms interestingly combine pop fundamentals with unapologetic coarseness for a product that is at once unique and familiar. (Buzz)