Track Review: Palm Spiral – “Only Shadow”

Processed With Darkroom
Processed With Darkroom

Following a precise fill from the rhythm section, a shimmering guitar chord kicks “Only Shadow” into a tight, catchy groove, bathing the crisp drums and plunky bass line in a sun-kissed glow. At first impression, Palm Spiral’s debut single sounds like it could be a lost Tame Impala track, suggesting a hypothetical middle path between the dreamy psych of Lonerism and the pop gloss of Currents. This makes sense, considering the Los Angeles-based duo’s Camden Moser and Nathan Guzman met on a Tame Impala subreddit, sharing music with each other over instagram for months before ultimately deciding to collaborate. Anyone that’s been following Guzman on social media can see that the multi-instrumentalist and producer has been thoroughly honing his craft under his SouthPavv moniker, where he’s been consistently experimenting with swaths of tape machines, vintage outboard gear, and synthesizers in the process of refining his sound. Vocalist and guitarist Moser seems to have been the perfect catalyst to really put these experiments into action; his deep, soft-spoken vocals and nostalgic lyrics meld perfectly with the hazy atmospheres, echoing into the wash alongside dissolving cymbal hits and filter sweeps. Every once in awhile a tape-saturated lead guitar enters with a tasteful lick, keeping the groove interesting without ever diverting its momentum. The beat does eventually drop out, just before the 3-minute mark, leaving space for oceanic synthesizers to play an ethereal, ascending chord progression. A lone shaker soon emerges, followed by some airy, reverbed vocals. After a quick refrain, a flanged drum fill leads to an instrumental section submerged in low pass filters and gyrating keyboard arpeggios, eventually opening up to a lush final chorus characterized by bright, chiming synth chords and a generous use of flanger. Having so many layers of instruments and effects without ever sounding too dense or messy is not an easy feat, but here the production and arrangements are accomplished with meticulous taste; each instrument sounds clear yet blends into the whole like the various colors of the sky during an ocean sunset.

Listen to the new single here:

(This is a commissioned review)

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