Essex-Based four-piece Palps have released their debut album, entitled Black Heart. The LP follows the 2020 debut EP ‘Letters to You (That I Will Never Send)’. Black Heart is an eight-track concept story that highlights a person’s struggles with Mental Health.
The album is accompanied by eight music videos that relay this story to listeners. The story is centred around the main protagonist, Matt plus Rose, Charlotte and the nefarious Plague Doctor, a metaphor for suicidal thoughts.
Jack Twiner helped mix, master and produce this release at Pyramid Studios in Reading, England. The band convey the seriousness of Matt through emotive pop-rock, huge choruses and meaningful lyrics.
The anthemic ‘AVA’ begins this chapter through striking vocal melodies and distorted guitar riffs. The heart-wrenching ‘Love, Always’ soon follows, before the first of two duets with vocalist Kirstie McEwan with ‘Consequences’.
Each song tells the tale of a troubled and conflicted individual growing darker throughout. The band add some instrumental passages and intricate songwriting that grabs at the softest spots. The LP is story-centred, rather than relying on any flashy musical techniques. That is the important thing to remember when listening to the album. For this reason, the album can at times sound too similar in tone and dynamic, which can come across as especially dark.
‘Messages’ seeks to sound positive with simple guitar play and joint choral cries and dazzling keys. The melodic ‘Imprint’ is the second to feature Kirstie McEwan joining in on the chorus. ‘In My Head’ is the heaviest track on the album with machine-gun drumming as a means to set the alarm something is up. And finally, ‘Dead’ is an eight-minute finale with progressive elements, aggressive guitars and sombre breakdowns.
Overall, Palps release an interesting way to get a serious subject through to the masses with sweet melodies and dark pop.
Words by Anselm Anderson. Rating 7/10❤❤❤❤❤❤❤