Palma Violets

Danger in the Club

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On 180, Palma Violets overflowed with youthful enthusiasm that united even the most freewheeling and shambling moments. After two years on the road and scrapped recording sessions, some maturing was inevitable, but Palma Violets spend most of Danger in the Club trying to find more sophisticated ways of expressing their raffishness with the help of producer John Leckie, who helps them remain true to their spirit while pushing their boundaries. Doo wop-tinged backing vocals give "Walking Home" an extra bounce to its inebriated strut (yet this is one of Danger in the Club's most focused songs); "No Money Honey" shows that they can do haunting almost as well as rowdy; and "The Jacket Song" is the kind of ramshackle acoustic waltz that added a weary romance to the Libertines' music. Indeed, as Palma Violets attempt to broaden their scope, they sometimes sound more like their influences; songs like "English Tongue" and "Coming Over to My Place" reaffirm they're a band in the line of the Libs and the Clash, while the title track evokes the Bad Seeds and the Stranglers' doomy theatrics. At other times, Palma Violets' willingness to try on new sounds for size gives the impression that they're wearing costumes that are a little bit too big for them. "Matador"'s weighty post-punk leanings feel more draggy than dramatic, and their ambitions for "Peter and the Gun"'s epic sweep don't quite match their ability to pull them off. Danger in the Club's most immediate tracks show that the band's strengths haven't changed much since 180. They rip into "Girl, You Couldn't Do Much Better on the Beach" and "Hollywood (I Got It)" with a fervor that rivals their debut, and the nimble way they handle the tempo shifts on "Secrets of America" and the Motown-esque bassline on "Gout! Gang! Go!" argue that the album's subtler innovations might work better than the showy ones. Despite its many head-bobbing moments, Danger in the Club feels more like two EPs -- one that builds on 180's exuberance and one that explores new territory -- than a consistent album.

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