Odd Palace – Things To Place On The Moon
Brilliantly bizarre, Mars Volta inspired prog that never loses sight of a killer chorus
Words: Phil Weller
Drawing from a vast array of progressive bands, from the technicality of Protest The Hero to the weird, atmospheric aggression of King Crimson and guitar/vocals trad off of The Mars Volta, Danish band Odd Palace embellish their eclectic debut album with a host of mammoth melodies. For all their strange, angular riffs and time signature deviations, their songs always pack a punch and a triumphant, memorable chorus or hook that extends their likability beyond the world of prog is never too far away.
The opening one-two of Carnivore and lead single Chemical Solutions slice the balance of progressive freakishness and inspiring accessibility; the first builds upon a spacey guitar line that builds beneath Gert Børsting’s poppy vocal lines before a dense and explosive, Mars Volta fashioned chorus, which is then followed by tinges of brass, elevate the songs class and prestige. The second is more aggressive, spinning and attacking in atypical time before dropping the dynamics for a verse which once more builds smartly to a sizeable chorus which this time tips its hat to Canada’s Protest The Hero.
Elsewhere Liar’s Attire seems to pluck riffs right from Omar Rodríguez-López’s crazy mind, Børsting again powering the song with a strong and compelling vocal performance, his tonality and delivery electric. Insomnia travels down a slower, darker road which is deceitfully colourful despite its overtly grey overtones; it breaks out into sharp, wonderfully disjointed riffs in its latter stages before a soaring guitar melody sweeps in for its conclusion. Just when you think its done it takes another left turn – of which we’ve already had many – the brass comes back and a Thank You Scientist meets King Crimson instrumental section bursts into life. The energetic Delirious, which includes the line "my feet have broken in two/from walking around in your shoes" jumps between a sound akin to if aliens went djent and multi-layered, hallucinogenic sections glittered with subtle and strange overdubs. But its oddly charming, for all its freakishness it is a song you can find yourself returning to for more.
The Alchamist hits with bouncy guitars, iced with swilling lead. It’s lively and fun and armed with a technical array of tricks from the guitarists and rhythm section without it ever being anything less than tasteful, they don’t flout their musicianship with any degree of cockiness.
The album’s centrepiece however, which is literally placed slap bang in the centre of the album, is the 13 minute epic title track. To go into detail as to where it travels or to give hints of its musical plot twists would spoil the show, just know that it is a track which boasts a myriad of styles and personalities, of moods and passages vastly different to their predecessors but ultimately complimentary to the bigger picture. It is a track which shows the scene just how towering their ambitions are as a band and shows that they are almost overflowing with creative fire.
Listen to this record without context and you’d never have marked this down as a debut full length release. The Danes are wise beyond their years, their sound is varied and well-rounded and across each track they shows both an exquisite eye for the brilliantly bizarre and an ear for the heavy rotation causing earworm melodies that give a band a real, genuine longevity.