Release Date: Jan 22, 2021
Record label: Wharf Cat Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Experimental Rock
Intentionally or not, the history of the physical space where an album is put together can often seep into the recording and leave an indelible marker. Just ask Trent Reznor about the tragic backstory, and impact on the songwriting, of where he chose to write and record Nine Inch Nails moody and iconic The Downward Spiral album. Thankfully for the girls in Palberta, the venue chosen for the assembling of their fifth album was a much more joyous residence, being as it was the former family home of actor Paul Reubens, known to millions as anarchic goofball Pee Wee Herman.
Over the course of a handful of full-length records and numerous shorter releases, the trio of Ani Ivory-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser have provided an able bridge between purity and discord. Calling to mind the irreverent punk of early Blink-182 and The Stroppies ' aloof and melancholy indie, as well as local post-punk acts in the vein of Parquet Courts , Palberta 's knack for slotting their dainty harmonies amongst a wiry tangle of guitars and drums has cultivated a status as firm favourites in the East Coast DIY scene. The release of "Corner Store", a recent single from Palberta5000, however, suggested a change was afoot.
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New York-based abstract punks Palberta (Ani Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser) went into the recording of their fifth album with the intention to create songs which were catchier and less abrasive than their previous material. Their earlier releases were filled with minute-long energetic bursts of angular riffs and playground-like shrieks, with tracks often burning out quickly, sometimes dissolving into fits of laughter. They also seemed to poke at pop music with a stick, slowing down Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl" and the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" and altering their lyrics.
Palberta billed themselves once as "New York's weirdest." As anyone who's heard them beat the Bee Gees to death can testify, they've more than earned the title. This wildly experimental punk trio has earned critical comparisons to Captain Beefheart and Can; now, after a near-decade of unstructured punk cacophony, they are "focused on making music that people [can] not only sing along to but get stuck in their heads." On Palberta5000, they accomplish this latter goal, but only through brute force. This band weakens a series of good-to-great songs by repeating a single lyric, without any variation whatsoever, for two to three minutes.
Palberta5000 by Palberta Dizzy three-part harmonies buzz over ramshackle architectures of stripped bare sound in Palberta's latest album. Antic, agitated sweetness is in play, but so is thorny aggression, as cooing calls meet spike-y responses, and the bass lumbers unpredictably like a bear skipping every other rung on a ladder about to tip. The brash, dissonant energies of Roach Going Down have been tamped down a bit and tucked under drape-y covers of fizzy melody, but the Brooklyn threesome still buries a sting in the tail of their disruptive, jittery pop.