Published Oct 09, 2020Mark Palm has been around the musical block. He's done time in Vancouver punks Reserve 34, Seattle metal outfit Black Breath and San Francisco dream-pop crew Modern Charms, to name but a few. His musical transience appears matched only by an apparent constant need to keep moving.
Perhaps the one constant has been a dedication to songcraft which he brings to the fore most prominently in his newest project, Supercrush. Worshipping at the feet of fuzzed-out '90s power pop icons like Teenage Fanclub, the Posies and Velvet Crush, the band are a throwback in almost every way possible. The songs are short, punchy and filled with beautiful vocal harmonies about love and heartache.
Yet at no point do Palm and his bandmates, including Shook Ones' Phil Jones, who also co-produced, feel like they're trying to just recreate the past. Rather, the songs on full-length debut SODO Pop — last year's Never Let You Drift Away was mostly a collection of singles — feel like a continuation, a passing of the baton. Palm is using the sounds of yesterday to explore his current point of view.
From the slow-burn jangle of "I Didn't Know (We Were Saying Goodbye)" to the shoegaze-y blur of "Parallel Lines," the familiarity of these 10 tracks is like an itch you can't quite scratch; a hook, a melody, even a guitar tone so familiar, yet you can't quite place from where.
In this sense, their closest analogue is probably Beach Slang, a group similarly fronted by a DIY lifer (James Alex) using old sounds to excise current fixations. Palm hasn't quite reached Alex's sublime amalgam of the new and the old. But SODO Pop has enough idiosyncrasies to push past its influences and be embraced on its own terms. (Don Giovanni)