Review of Palais Ideal: Pressure Points

Band: Palais Ideal

Album: Pressure Points

Label: Cold Transmission

Members:

John Edwards: 
Vocals, Guitars, Synths, Rhythm Programming 

Richard van Kruysdijk: 
Bass Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Guitar, Synths, 
Backing Vocals, Rhythm Programming

https://palaisideal.bandcamp.com/album/pressure-points

I’ve been searching for the right words for this May 25th 2019 release from Palais Ideal. This album had such an profound impact on me. It’s an early runner for my album of the year and we are just getting started. For me when I think of this record I think of the first time I heard The Church and thought, they are doing the same thing as most of the new wave bands. They are just doing it on a level of depth and complexity which touch on a higher step, while somehow maintaining everything in terms of pop sensibility that their contemporaries are achieving. I think the lack of sugar coating could make Palais Ideal easy to look past when in reality they are the ones creating something most profound.

John Edwards

John has such a wonderful and unique voice which i will expand on later but for a moment I want to focus on the message rather than the voice it is given in. You just don’t hear intelligent, challenging lyrical content like this in modern post punk music. A lot of it is expressive and clever but what Pressure Points has done is weave a cohesive tale of vibrant expression about the plight and achievement of modern culture. It’s Issac Asimov set to a tapestry of music. Enormous in scope and precise in vision. I have listened to these songs so many times already but I ordered the LP and put off writing the review partially out of intimidation partially because i needed to absorb the record played front to back as it was made to be heard. I’m not saying they don’t have great singles here. To me, this is a record of the best 12 deep cuts spaced over a bands 10 albums in one place.

Richard van Kruysdijk

Lets talk about what is unique here. Post Punk tends to lend itself to a technically adept style and Palais Ideal features two masters of craft at the height of their instruments. What they have done is take a step beyond the technical proficiency and into the progressive rock style almost more King Crimson than Joy Division. Dramatic shifts in key and tempo. Time syncopation that has the same heavy driving bass but such fluid movement of tone that it transcends the genre. The music is layered like mesh steel on a robots thigh. John has a voice that flickers and strikes with clarity and hovers on a range between Bernard Sumner, Joe Strummer and Mark Burgess yet always finds a way to cut through the complexity of the tempest. The use of guitars and Synths are economical and create a cleanness in spite of how much is going on.

How on earth to pick favorite tracks?

The Programme – What a complete cybernetic device digging into the depths of your skull and rattling around the pleasure zones in your brain. This bass line is everywhere at once. John’s delivery and that winding guitar rift which glances like light through a prism. “The Colony breaks down, we built it up again, we run the program now” A true statement on the loss of reality through technological euphoria. Facing the self shackled slavery of the modern world with glorious synth candy.

Context Collapse – This high energy snare snap building into a smooth cornered transition and that signature delicate guitar light show. “Forever avoiding a moment of disconnection. Improving, engineering a more transparent you.” So much to unpack here, layers upon layers.

Everything Will Be Ok – So much focus is on this dytopian world of the modern struggle this dance beat New Order soother with the strange echo robot effect vocals breaks up the weight and lets everything go green. “There is no such thing as destiny, life gives you everything you need. Everything will be ok?” So tongue and cheek I can almost beleive.

Overall this album is a force of everything that this new renaissance in post punk music is making possible. First you tear it down, then you rebuild it, then you synthesize it to a higher complexity and evolution. Pressure Points is a soundtrack for the modern spy novel of the post digital age. It’s full of adventure, depth, and a calculated empathy that makes me dream of electric sheep. This will be an album I am still peeling apart when I am putting together a list of the most important musical contributions of the year.

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Review: Lust for Nothing

Band: Lust for Nothing
Album: Lust for Nothing 
Label: Sys2matik Records 
Members: Michael Sky – Vox, Guitars
David Sky- Live / Bass Guitar
Neko Sky-Live / Drums

http://lustfornothing.com


https://lustfornothing.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/LustforNothing/

Great new EP of Philly based Michael Sky of Sys2Matik Overload called Lust for Nothing. It’s a short album, 4 songs, but it has some real burners here and it is something you haven’t heard before. As someone who does a bit of this himself I am a total sucker for music that greatly contrasts the lyrics and vocals. This album really casts a night and day picture between the dark intense topic in the lyrics, and the bright fiery energy of the music. Sky doesn’t have a beauty to his voice. It is dark, deep, rich and really holds a rough sad edge. It’s odd, off-putting even. Yet it holds a true gothic bygone ring in the lower register. You can feel the emotion in his driving monotone chant. A bit of Ian Curtis and Peter Steele with a hint of an accent I keep waiting for him to say “Listen to the Children of the Night, what beautiful music they make” The lyrics call out of love lost and clinging hope. It is endurance and strength in the face of a bleak world. It is the sound I now associate when I think of Philadelphia. I spent a lot of time on the vocals but again the true uniqueness of this band is the musical contrast. These songs are bouncy, light, reminding me of The Church. They dance and fill your mind while Michael ties iron chains around your wrists. The push and pull of this effect is both unnerving and captivating. The keyboard lines are a beautiful anthem chorus and the bass lines are a driving pulse of an over excited heart. Neko’s drum parts are crisp and fierce and an ever present piece of order in this emotional tale. The songs really range widely in style but Sky’s ever present voice ties them together in a continuity that makes sense out of the chaos. There is a coolness factor to this music. You know the real deal when you hear it and this band sounds like they look, like they are. It makes the music ring true. Nothing I love the sound of more than genuine emotion cut down to the bone and blasted through an amplifier.


Stand out tracks could really be any but I’ll speak to a few.

Almost Anything – Holy shit this song sounds like the greatest club hits from Erasure or Yaz. The keyboards are entrancing and lovely. The rise and swell. They tickle and drive. Then Michael’s voice drops and it’s a heart wrenching cry. He would “Give you almost anything of what he had to face” I find myself at a lost with how to compare this feeling. Almost like the Mysterian’s 99 tears in how what you are hearing and feeling separates from the lyrics and messenger.

One Last Goodbye – When the music starts if I didn’t know better I would think I was hearing pop punk from the 90s. It’s warm, it’s welcoming, the drums are pounding away. Then Micheal comes in with a beautiful lilting series of lines about hope in the face of desolation. “We cried 100 tears between us, I hope you enjoyed the show” It’s an anthem and I want to pump my fist and cry at the same time.

This EP was too little for my taste. I wanted 10 songs of the enormous range and possibilities. However it is always better to leave them wanting more, and I definitely want more. Get this album. Rock it in the morning after a night spent too long in abuse. Howl at the moon with it and dance. I’m really excited to get a chance to play with this band and watch the energy of a crowd feed off of them. They are raw, they are real, they are Philly goth made flesh.