As a person who plays with words all day, inventing imaginary genres and often meaningless soundbites, I always appreciate a good turn of phrase, especially if it comes from a band themselves looking to find tempting labels for their music. “Sun-damaged American music” sounds excellent even before you have matched it to any music. It conjures images of music warped and twisted through too much exposure to the heat, broken yet exuding warmth, light and cracked, torn and crumbling, breaking apart through being handled too incautiously. That sounds like something I would like and as it is main man Joseph Lekkas summation of Palm Ghosts music, I find myself braced and ready for a sonic treat.
And a treat it is too. A blend of gorgeously cinematic, dream pop meeting a more structured indie ethic of the sort that cool and imaginative left field musicians have been making from Cocteau Twins to Alvvays and at every point in between. Throw in some wonderful vocal textures and an occasional wander into darker pop territory and you have an intriguing and beguiling proposition. The Crown and The Confidant in particular runs along the same mercurial commerciality that saw the likes of The Cure move from alternative, arty upstarts to arena favourites, The Hound takes more brooding ambient routes and Rhythm To Rage matches dance floor finesse with indie otherness.
A fantastic slice of all things that sit on the border of cultish and commercial, cool enough to appeal to the discerning tastes of the underground and hot enough to sell to the masses. Not only does that blend not come together very often, who’d have thought that you’d find it in the alt-country confines of East Nashville.