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ALBUM: Palisades – ‘Mind Games’

ALBUM: Palisades – ‘Mind Games’


New Jersey sextet Palisades want to make it known that their live shows can be just as fun on the dance floor as they are in the pit. The ambitious group began to show this quite obviously on their previous full-length ‘Outcasts’ but on the highly-anticipated follow-up ‘Mindgames’ it’s blatant that the musicians that make up the band can get down to I-G-G-Y just as much as they can to Limp Bizkit’s ‘Break Everything’.

It’s satisfying to hear the amount of improvement in the band showcased throughout the 10 track record. Both lead vocalist Lou Micelli and backing vocalist Brandon Sidney, who was rarely heard on ‘Outcasts’, sing nothing but memorable melodies. The guitar riffs, though heard significantly less often than on ‘Outcasts’ are much more tastefully used and composed here. DJ Earl Halasan is without a doubt the member whose handiwork you hear the most, as this album is almost entirely by the trap/trance/hip-hop electronics. Through all of this the band have created a unique blend of what sounds like a wall of heavy Nu-Metal grooves, trancy trap-house beats, fast-paced bouncy breakdowns and obnoxiously catchy pop choruses. The result is an affair that sounds much more realized than ‘Outcasts’ subtly electronic post-hardcore. There’s not much variety to speak of from song to song but each individual song already has enough going on genre-wise, especially the title track. Notable though is the electro-pop punk blend heard in “People Like Us” and the chilled-out R&B of (oddly named) album closer “Come Over And Watch Netflix”. And let it be known that there is nothing that screams 90’s more on this record than the “Jump! Jump! Jump!” breakdown heard at the end of “Bad Girls”.

Oddly enough despite all that is happening in each song, everything is well-coordinated and arranged. Overall though, the album taken on a substantial level isn’t full of much substance at all, and rightfully so. This is a pop album, and a damned catchy (if not repetitive) one at that. What Palisades have done here is created an album that is the equivalent of taking their live show home with you, which is a cause for praise when the fact that they’ll have an audience that’s ready for the energy these songs will give off in a live enviornment is considered. The Warped Tour crowd should highly approve of this band come Summer.

Soundscape: A busy combination of contemporary traphouse electronic beats, hip hop samples, 90’s Nu Metal riffs, metalcore breakdowns and mainstream pop choruses. The guitars and drums add a sense of groove and heaviness to the bass-heavy radio-friendly atmosphere. There isn’t much variety to be heard, but is made up for with plentiful amounts of energy.

Band Chemistry: Most of the time the DJ is doing the work, but the guitarists and drummer are well-utilized enough for this type of sound, though infrequent.

Lyrics: An abundance of pop not-quite cliches and teenage romantic woe. Nothing you won’t hear in this genre nor on the radio, but that’s youth. The catchiness allows this to be overlooked. It will do just fine for any avid fan of the band.

Vocals: Both vocalists deliver adequately  with decent notes and melodies. They also know a thing or 2 about hooks. Lou’s screaming range isn’t as varied as it could be but the screams themselves are raw and aggressive. The addition of rap screaming in a few songs was neat.

Replayability: You might pull this out for a party or 2 and the songs WILL get stuck in your head, but mainly you’ll want to go see the band live after hearing this album.

Matthew Powers I write reviews for CaliberTV and enjoy the existence of music.