Palomar

All Things, Forests

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

The good news is, All Things, Forests is home to some of Palomar's strongest tracks to date. "Bury Me Closer," for instance, is the kind of power pop anthem that makes your skin tingle. It's a perfect blend of brazen and sweet; it's all angelic ukulele riffs, tight-knit girl-girl harmonies, and scrunchy keyboards. The only problem is that this song is so good that many of the other songs on the album (perfectly good songs, mind you) sound a little bland in comparison. Slightly diffuse tracks like "Our Haunt" and "Woah!" aren't the issue here. It's plodding, weighty tracks like "How to Beat Dementia" and "The Air Between Us" (tracks that feel like they're only half-done, as if they were sketches of songs in the making) that really drag this album down. Palomar might be aware of this, seeing how the best tracks are sprinkled throughout the album like raisins in a Christmas pudding. After "The Air Between Us," "You're Keeping Us Up" is a wonderful (and much-needed) rush of oxygen. And "Top Banana," one of the best tracks on the album, is literally buried alive underneath the weight of "He Came to Stay" and "Bridge of Sighs." This isn't to say that Palomar aren't capable of pulling off melancholy songs (far from it), nor that they should latch onto cheery pop fluff (they shouldn't). This is an appeal, rather, for songs that don't sag in the middle. Roughly half of the album accomplishes this; unfortunately, those tracks ultimately aren't strong enough to pull the album out of the jungle. Those who are willing to plough through the dense underbrush of All Things, Forests will be rewarded with Palomar's dark, intelligent power pop, but it'll take some perseverance. Get your machete ready.

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