Exclaim!'s Staff Picks: Palehound's 'Eye on the Bat' Is Wry and Confrontational

BY Allie GregoryPublished Jul 13, 2023

El Kempner reveals a new side of Palehound on their fourth effort, Eye on the Bat. Where previous albums have taken on a celebratory tone — especially when it comes to romance and friendship — on the band's first "post"-pandemic release, Kempner adopts a wryer attitude as they contend with the breakdown of a relationship. 

Much like its confrontational title, the album's heavy tones ring throughout its instrumentals as well, lending a hard rock edge to plenty of its 10 tracks. Lead single "The Clutch" and "Independence Day," in particular, find Palehound adopting chugging riffs and fingerpicks, trading out whispered falsettos for chant-along vocals and heavier drums. There's also an unprecedentedly goofy turn on "U Want It U Got It," which reads like a tumble through the looking glass. 

Well-trodden kitschy imagery of cats and busted cars remains, but those pictures no longer shroud Kempner's songwriting in riddles; Palehound have always been good at vulnerability, but with Eye on the Bat, they're presenting it more transparently than ever before. 


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