Painted Palms Forever

Painted Palms Forever
Composed of two cousins (Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme), Painted Palms are a band who have embraced technology to overcome the geographical challenges keeping them apart. With one in California and the other in Louisiana, they build their songs up piece by piece, sending them back and forth until a finished product emerges.

Forever starts off strongly, with a trio of songs that lean heavily on the Animal Collective's template of sparkly, swirling synths and multilayered harmonies. While there's nothing wrong with a little imitation, it does mean that its takes several more tracks before Painted Palms begin to show their own personality.

When their own sound finally emerges on the melancholy "Soft Hammer," they strip things down and allow the song to build up slowly into a psychedelic din before falling back down to earth again, and it's good stuff. Unfortunately, they run out of ideas by the halfway point and double down on the first half again.

Forever is essentially a pop record, but while there's no denying that some of these songs in isolation fulfill the catchy promise of that genre, there's just not enough to elevate this above being a decent debut and not much else. (Polyvinyl)