Palomar II

Somewhere in between the "political is personal” earnestness of yesteryear's Olympiad grrls and the sugary sweet innocence of yester-yesteryear's Brill Building girl groups is the hook-filled, adrenalised whimsy of Palomar. The choppy waves of spiked punch in which this three gal, one guy New York quartet swims is undeniable, yet they're also awash in lilting melodies and poppy boppiness. In this lazily titled second full-length, Palomar touches on everything from moody pals ("Emily Song") to the mixed signals sent between genders ("Lesion") to a churning, energised Brian Eno cover ("I'll Come Running") and they do it all with a fun loving half smile. Like Le Tigre, they're getting their feminist-tinged message across with a sing-along dance party (without the new wave beats). Yet most of the time their party exists in form rather than content — despite the strength and intelligence portrayed, insecurities and dependencies are also acknowledged. Opener "Knockout" highlights this intriguing juxtaposition, "I'll do anything you want, go anywhere you want to," only to be immediately followed by a fist sandwich, a powerful "K.O.!" In a way they're too busy perfecting their glossily harmonised "sha na nas" and "doo dee doos" to dwell too long on oppression or depression. In Palomar's world, the weather is always like one of those freak rainstorms where the sun shines brightly while it continues to pour; rare moments when you wish someone would just hurry up already and invent mini-windshield wipers for sunglasses. You can't help but imagine that unique ’80s UK punk associates the Raincoats are Palomar's cool aunts; just like the latter, you get the sense that this music was made primarily for their own shits and giggles, with no one else’s expectations or watchful eyes looming. Palomar's output comes from what brings them joy and, subsequently, that joy is brought to us. A genuinely sassy release. (Self-Starter)