The Palpitations – Denial

Posted: 8 April 2022 in Singles and EPs
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

15th April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

It may sound a bit screwy, but then, we’re here on the Internet and I’m sure you’ll have read far screwier things presented in more enticing ways that are far more dangerous than my theory that individuals are somehow psychologically and biologically attuned to certain kinds of music. It’s a complex issue, and one I’m yet to fully unravel, but it feels like something that slots into the nature / nurture debate: are people born predisposed to appreciate darker music, or is it triggered by life events – or a combination of the two?

In 1983, at the age of seven or eight, I saw Killing Joke on Top of the Pops performing ‘Love Like Blood’. I was, in hindsight, enjoying a mundane middle-class upbringing, but this moment – and it was one of several – went a long way to cementing my appreciation of darker music. I’d never suffered any kind of trauma and hardship beyond maybe some kids taking the piss out of my coat or whatever, but still something drew me towards this kind of thing.

Nearly forty years on, and ultimately, nothing’s changed: the turn of the millennium brought a new wave of post-punk influenced acts, with the likes of Interpol and Editors setting the grounds of darker territory. And, in turn, we’re seeing bands emerging now that very much echo the sound and style of post-millennial wave of post-punk, or new millennium new wave if you will (there doesn’t really seem to be a label for it, but if that one ever gets used, I’m claiming it).

This is the long and meandering route to the arrival the new single from London-based alt-rockers The Palpitations who – like so many acts – emerged during lockdown out of a need to so something, and the foursome – Tom Talbot on vocals, Brett Rieser on guitar, Nishant Joshi on bass, Florin Pascu on drums – set out their agenda with the ‘Feed The Poor! Eat The Rich!’ EP.

But there’s a nugget in the Palpitations bio that shows they’re not just another bunch of musicians who were loafing around listlessly and decided to bung some tunes together to fill the time whole on furlough or unable to play live. Talbot and Joshi were, in actual fact, working as frontline doctors, and both were instrumental in protecting NHS staff with upgraded PPE, and also took part in protests that gained international attention. Joshi later took the government to court over their PPE failures, winning a landmark case.

It’s out of this passion and a sense of frustration that the music of The Palpitations comes, and ‘Denial’ is a belter, smashing together a spindly, soaring lead guitar, with cool, meandering synths and a thumping solid rhythm section; if Interpol collided with Bivouac and Eight Storey Window, you’d probably have a handle on their post-punk grunge crossover, although there’s perhaps more than a hint of Placebo in the blend, and ‘Denial’ packs some darkly melodic angst and significant tension into its four-minute duration. It resonates not just on an emotional or sonic level, but on  a cerebral and biological level – and it’s an instant grab.

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