Review – Palma Violets – Electric Circus, Edinburgh – 08/10/12

It’s not often a band gets on the cover of NME when their debut single is still a fortnight away from release. And it’s even rarer that they live up to the excitement.

Palma Violets operate somewhere between the two extremes of hype and heroism; dishing out a set that sounds half like dodgy Clash covers and half blistering rock and roll.

The four-piece kick of this swollen Edinburgh gig with a couple of fairly non-descript punk numbers that get the heart, if not the brain, pumping. It isn’t until they drop the fiery ’Tom The Drum’ that you can tell this London four-piece are something more than your average music press fodder. The hypnotic number loops around some bustling snare work by drummer Will Doyle. It sounds like Faris Badwan singing on a Ramones record before rising to a crescendo of reverb, crash symbols and sweat.

And it is not long before the big guns are out again, with the much anticipated single ’Best Of Friends’ being thrown out as a mid-set shock troop. The floor literally creaks under the weight of the crowd’s pounding as they bounce to the best track of 2012 so far. The song is the natural heir to ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’, combining the unique power poetry of British indie with some rip roaring grooves from lead guitarist Sam Fryer. Exhilarating would be doing it a disservice.

But after some more down and dirty forgetable numbers it comes to ramshackle set closer ‘Fourteen’. Purportedly written about a lost night in London and the fateful trip home on the trusty number 14 bus, the song definitely takes you on a journey. The simplicity of it only adds to its euphoria, with Pete Mayhew’s synths sounding as saintly as a chorus of angels.

For once the chants of “one more tune” are answered, with the band getting support act Childhood up on stage to join them for the wig out of all wig outs. Unashamedly confident, the only vocals uttered are “this is going to get to number one”…and they are probably right.

Palma Violets have the advantage of having taking the majority of the music world by surprise. If they can build on the handful of stone-cold hits they already have in their arsenal then there is a serious chance that they could beat the odds and live up to the hype. They have exceptional stage presence, sound as tight as a band twice their age and should hopefully be the death knell to The Vaccines…what’s not to love ?

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