Palomar All Things, Forests

It’s a little disconcerting to think of how easily tunes come to Palomar. On All Things, Forests, they continue to shed sunny, hooky melodies at a rate that makes the rest of us no talent hacks seethe in muted jealousy. Singer Rachel Warren is, as on prior releases, the picture of grace and charm, applying her keen wit and inventiveness to the recording. Opener "Bury Me Closer” is a prime example of this uncontrived nonchalance — an understated love letter from beyond the grave, it is sweet and wistful enough to warm even the most jaded music nerd. Yet as the album progresses, nerds will regain their prickliness — for all the countless times the term "indie rock” has been uselessly invoked, its application in reference to this LP is entirely appropriate. All the hallmarks are here: girl/guy harmonies, the instrumental line-up and the bright tunefulness. That Palomar can pull this off in their sleep ends up being a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they are head and shoulders above the infinitesimal mediocre bands that populate this realm. On the other, it’s a little disappointing to see a band with this much talent staying in their comfort zone like this. A little more adventurousness would have gone a long way. (Misra)