Sound — 9
This "super group" is made up of Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris, and Bryant Clifford Meyer of ISIS, with singer Chino Moreno of Deftones. The music provided by the former ISIS members is spacey and relaxing on most of the songs, leading into growling distortion at the end. The music provides mental images of landscapes similar to the album cover, peaceful areas with light clouds tinged with pinks and oranges, with the sense of something much more powerful beyond. Chino Moreno also contributes to this feeling with vocals which feel like they have a large magnitude of emotion and sincerity behind them. The music is highly atmospheric and it is easy to simply relax and get lost in the music.
Lyrics — 7
Chino Moreno's vocals provide an excellent addition to the music, but the lyrics are lacking in depth. Songs like "Patagonia" lack a certain depth that provides a song with much more meaning. The album left me feeling that the lyrics were more about the atmosphere of the song than anything else. That being said, the atmospheric quality of the lyrics is phenomenal, painting pictures of things beyond the physical world or standing on the line between heaven and hell. Skill-wise, Chino Moreno is not lacking. His voice moves through the epic soundscapes without sounding strained or forced. His voice sounds like it has some deeper meaning that I couldn't quite grasp from the lyrics. Moreno's vocals feel right at home among the musical waves and mountains the rest of the band provides.
Overall Impression — 8
This self-titled debut is a great listen for fans of atmospheric, powerful music. The songs "Patagonia" and "Short Wave Radio" stood out as the best tracks on the album, with "Future Soldier" earning an honorable mention. "Short Wave Radio" is my personal favorite on the album, with Moreno's vocals at the end pulling me in emotionally. The last song, "Antartic Handshake" stood out as the weakest track to me, mostly due to the irritating clicking sound throughout the first third of the song that had me checking to make sure my headphones weren't dying. The album has some great music, but it's greatest flaw is that it lacks differentiation between the songs; sometimes I found that I hadn't even noticed that the song had changed. Another flaw with the album is that it only has 6 songs. Although the songs are substantial, ranging from five and a half minutes to ten minutes long, it still feels like the album should have more music on it. Aside from it's flaws, "Palms" is a quality album made by quality musicians, and if I lost this album from my collection I would definitely replace it.