Jan 26, 2021
If you had never heard of the New York City upstart no-wave influenced punkers Palberta, their fifth album’s title, Palberta5000, might put you in the mind of a backwater, dirt track road race or a late night cable infomercial for the world’s best blender. You wouldn’t be far off in either case. Wild, wacky, and a bit mixed-up, Palberta5000 finds the band taking a step back from the perilous edge of melodic song structure they hinted at on 2018’s Roach Going Down.
With the band’s members (Ani Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser) taking alternating turns with instruments and vocal duties, they carry on in the traditions of early no-wavers, Ut. Though with a sunnier disposition. Given the sharp elbows and incongruous angles, the group seems to have an eye trained on not getting too practiced in their craft. This lends itself to being able to maintain a “look what I just did” sense of discovery several albums on.
Though melody is not front and center on Palberta5000, tuneful passages abound. They just aren’t given the rope to run their full course. “Fragile Place” contains a layered harmony and a looping hook, but those are met with an unrelenting pounding. And though Palberta have drawn comparisons to Pylon in the past, it’s hard to leave that behind. Songs like “Big Bad Want,” “Hey!,” and “All Over My Face” are filled with hammering repetition, bounding bass, and a melding of hi-hats, woodblock, and cowbell, over nearly danceable beats. There are some almost radio friendly spots in the fairly straightforward “Red Antz,” while the doo-wop stylings of “Corner Store” are both lovely and most likely to garner the group its first TikTok viral breakout.
And lest we leave the blender reference too far behind, everyone knows that blenders are good for making precisely two things: margaritas and salsa. And Palberta, the band, and Palberta5000 come off like the best of tomatillo salsas: fresh, zesty, and steadfastly green. A concoction that never gets old. (www.palbertapalberta.bandcamp.com)
Author rating: 7/10