Palm Reader - Braille
2. Internal Winter
3. Like A Wave
7. The Turn
10. A Lover, A Shadow
Palm Reader, one of the UK's most exciting young hardcore bands, release third album Braille Friday April 6 via Silent Cult, but we're streaming it a day early exclusively right here on Metal Hammer. Fans of Gallows, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge, you need to get on this.
Here's the band's very own track-by-track guide to the record, which you can listen to in full below...
Josh: The basic idea and structure for this song came together in an afternoon. It was very much one of those spontaneous things that just seemed to work immediately. Using a different tuning often works as a pretty good catalyst for us and this songs is definitely testament to that. It’s one of the first times we focused more on the rhythm and structural intricacies before the melodic.
Sam: The lyrics were written around the time that Trump’s presidential campaign came into fruition. The song speaks about the corruption of good people benefiting the worst kinds of people. The world is sick, but it feels like the world of politics and finance is the virus that’s killing it off.
Josh: Lyrically, the song is about the loss of something or someone and how that loss can affect things. The phrase ‘internal winter’ means to have a season of negative emotions. I think it’s important to remember that it will be over eventually and also acknowledge these periods of emotional turmoil in order to learn about yourself, gain perspective and progress.
Andy: The song almost flows in a seasonal fashion going through quiet bleak moments, crushing grooves, and stinking great riffs. We had the song about 98% finished when we went in to the studio but still hadn’t heard Josh’s vocals for it. Within seconds of hearing the first verse the song felt so much more complete.
Like A Wave
Sam: We’d had this song kicking around in various incarnations for around 2 years. When Braille was still very much in it’s infancy, we recorded this song along with two others with Johnny from Devil Sold His Soul, one of which was our single Always Darkest. Listening back to it, it still didn’t seem like it had reached it’s final form yet so it went on the back burner for a bit whilst we pursued other ideas. It wasn’t until about five months before we went into the studio that that we revisited it with fresh ears and everything fell into place.
Josh: The song talks about being on the brink of having toxic relationships end and owning the feeling of separation. When the time comes and there’s no other options left but to cut the chord and move on, it should be done with a positive outlook.
Sam: I think this was the first song that really felt like a noticeable step forward for us. A clear departure from the greater part of what we’d written without it feeling too alien or worrying that it ‘didn’t sound like Palm Reader’. The song definitely guided the direction that the rest of the album went from that point. We brought our good friend Matt from Haggard Cat in to mix it up a bit.
Josh: This song explores the feeling of becoming stagnant whilst surrounded by other people’s apparent ‘progression’. In this age of social media dependancy, it’s easy to find yourself paralysed by the pressure put on us to live up to other people’s standards/expectations. This song is about acknowledging the grip of that particular insanity and forcing it to let go.
Andy: There’s a few musical ideas we’d been toying with that didn’t make it onto the album in their intended form but we wanted to birth them in some way. Breach is an amalgamation of five or six parts that dovetailed and fitted the vibe of the album perfectly. A breath of fresh air on an album that otherwise sounds similar to drowning.
Josh: I tried to approach the subject of marrying the body and the mind. Talking about spirituality is something I don’t really enjoy. But the importance of the subject outweighed any doubts I had about using it as subject matter. We have become quite obviously disconnected from our emotions, our instincts and, in turn, each other. To stop and think is to notice and eventually change.
Sam: Musically it’s a marriage of narrative and soundtrack running in parallel with each other. The quieter parts on this song as well as the others on the album were an obvious but not unnatural departure from our previous works. The restrained approach to the verses is the closest we’ve ever come to sounding apprehensive I think. I guess it’s almost a subconscious reflection of how we were all feeling writing the album. We knew we were heading towards some unfamiliar territory but it was important to go with our collective gut. To me, that’s what the essence of Palm Reader is. I hope that level of honesty translates to the listener.
Sam: We wrote the meat of this tune straight off the back of the Norma Jean tour and came together in a couple of sessions. Even with the majority of parts finished it still took a long time to iron out transitions and the amount of parts we were going to include. For quite a while it felt a bit staggered and lacked the fluidity of it’s final manifestation. As with a number of other songs on the album, this one was one of the first to not have vocals the whole way through. That feeling of space and breathing room was something that we wanted to permeate throughout the album.
There is a recurring theme of losing touch on the album, hence the album title. This song is about everyone losing touch with each other as a people. The context of conversation is lost through a screen and it’s seriously affecting our tolerance and acceptance of others. We are falling away from each other whilst being convinced that we’re closer than ever before. “We’re forgetting the feeling of body heat: the warmth in connection.” Obviously face-to-face interaction with every person you know is impossible these days. But awareness of the difference between that and our reality is very important.
Andy: My grandmother’s health has deteriorated dramatically in the last few years. I took her to hospital a lot before she went into care. I remember heading home after one visit thinking “this is it, the last time I’d ever spend time with her while she is lucid” It really hit home how fragile and cruel life can be. Seeing someone to who’s been present in your life since day one fade and succumb to dementia and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. I wrote this piece for her.
Sam: Clockwork started with just a simple two chord guitar part I’d been messing about with but it definitely didn’t seem enough on it’s own. Andy had the big Baroness-esque ending riff and it was as simple as putting the two together. The issue we had, as with The Turn, was finding a way to get to that massive ending without it sounding forced or sloppy. Josh’s vocals in the gap between sections just tied the whole thing together and that was that. It’s the only song we’ve ever written other than smack hound, where the working title has endured and made it to the album.
Josh: This one, personally, was hard to write. Whilst writing the record I lost two incredibly important family members. I dealt with the loss terribly by diving into some very unhealthy vices, which took me to some very dark places. The first half of the song speaks about the hopelessness of that situation, whilst the second half screams of that feeling passing. There is always hope and everyone should be aware of that.
A Lover, A Shadow
Andy/Josh: We wanted to build a song from the ground up and see where we could take it. Starting from a delicate beginning, then evolving each verse into a bigger and better version of itself. It was a pretty decent song to begin with, then we added the electronics towards and it took on a totally new form. We ended up rewriting a load of it to help incorporate the sheer size of the end section. We wanted to write an album finisher and we feel like thats exactly what we did. Scott Kennedy (Bleed From Within) did a killer job on the vocals too.
Lyrically, the song is about the psychological incarceration of an unhealthy relationship, the pressure that puts on a person and the feeling of leaving it all behind. I wrote about this subject very honestly in the hope that it would help others to separate themselves from that shadow.