I don’t have a particular taste for anything right now when it comes to music. All I know is that it’s a Monday night around 7 PM and I’m already debating going to bed. Needless to say, I could use something a little energetic or, could use something calming to help me get to sleep faster when I give in and go upstairs. What I’m trying to say is I just needed something good to listen to and could be swayed to either stay up or go to bed tonight depending on what I found. Knowing that I could go for really anything at this point and the only stipulation was that I wanted something good, I went through my stack of releases from Rum Bar Records. The artists on this label never let me down and always leave me with a great feeling. Typically they are very garage-rock styled but with the singular name of Geoff Palmer on the cover, I wondered if this could be a more subdued album from the rockin’ label? Regardless, I put it in my stereo, poured another glass of water, and braced myself for whatever this album would bring.
As soon as “This One’s Gonna Be Hot” took over my speakers, I knew that this album was going to hit the spot tonight. Although it’s very “Rum Bar Records” as far as the garage-rock sound is concerned, there was something extremely pop-punk about this opening track that I instantly fell head over heels for. Although it’s a fast tempo, it’s not hectic or chaotic and was seriously just perfect. Short and sweet just like every styled punk song should be, before I knew it, “This One’s Gonne Be Hot” was replaced by “Cha-Ching”. Again, the just perfect blend of fuzzy garage-punk with something a bit more polished took over my speakers and my exhaustion was suddenly nowhere to be found.
The acoustic guitar that kicks “I Like Murder Too” caught me a bit off guard but, within seconds, the rest of the band came in and brought back the energized garage-punk sound that Geoff Palmer clearly does so well. After a mention of “The First 48” (which happens to be one of my favorite TV shows) and various other true crime shows, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this song a little bit more than the previous two tracks. Unfortunately, the true-crime references didn’t continue throughout this track but it was still a favorite of mine. I loved the care-free feeling of this song and the almost retro vibe that it put off.
“Giving In” seems to slow the tempo down just a hair. Although still very garage-rock/punk, there’s just something a little bit more reserved about this track that had me captivated. As nice as this captivation was, I was a little shocked as the album moved onto “Got The Skinny” before I could really come up with much more to say about “Giving In” other than I liked it for reasons that I can’t quite put the words too. Words aren’t that hard to come up with when it comes to describing “Got The Skinny”. This song has such a cool retro vibe to it with very laissez-faire lyrics matched to it. Still upbeat and absolutely danceable, I loved the care-free attitude of this track.
That retro vibe continued during “We Can’t Do It” but in a completely different way. This track is very doo-wop and starts with an a capella part that is super interesting and intriguing. I almost wish the whole track would have been like that so I was a bit bummed when the rest of the band came in but, at the same time, I’m so in love with Geoff Palmer’s sound and the sound of his band that I didn’t stay bummed for long. I was loving the retro vibe of “Got The Skinny” and “We Can’t Do It” but also really liked the almost more straight pop-punk sound of “Everything is Cool”. This was an instant favorite of mine. It’s just another one of those super fun songs that makes you smile from ear to ear no matter what is going on in your head or what your day was like.
“All The Hits” seems to expand on the pop-punk sound of “Everything is Cool”. It’s as if Geoff is just diving deeper and deeper into that sound as the album moves on but I know that it won’t last just due to the numerous influences that are so clearly heard throughout this album so I held my breath as the album moved onto “Velcro Shoes” wondering what this track would bring. To my delight, my assumption was wrong and Geoff continues with this infectious pop-punk sound that I will always remember him for. “Velcro Shoes” is another one of those tracks that will have you nodding your head to the beat whether or not you want it to.
I keep on bracing myself for the moments that Geoff brings back his retro doo-wop vibe that was heard so clearly in “We Can’t Do It” so I was a little surprised as I was reminded of The Arrivals as “Walk Through” started pumping through my speakers. The thing with Geoff Palmer’s sound and the recording of this album is that it’s not perfect and that makes it perfect. The recording quality is a little fuzzy, or it’s the guitars, I honestly don’t know, I failed my sound engineering and recording classes I attempted to take. Regardless, it’s an element that really sets Geoff aside from other acts that are trying to do this in an almost scientific way. You can feel the freedom, organicness, and pure fun in each song on this album and that adds something that is truly special.
The mood definitely shifted as “Paper Heart” took over my speakers and I couldn’t help but instantly think of Elvis. Again, it’s this very retro vibe that is heard throughout this album but, instead of coming through like a doo-wop, this track just has an Elvis element to it. Just when I was getting used to that newfound feeling, “Donut” brings back the pop-punk feelings with a little bit of southern California oceanside thrown in. Yeah, that’s an odd description but listen to this song and find better words for it. Whatever words you think of, let’s just go ahead and call this another favorite of mine.
Although there are fourteen tracks on this album, they flew by and we are already on the thirteenth track, “Speed”. This is one of those good ol’ fashioned skate songs. It has a driving beat with fast vocals and an almost hollow sound in all of the right ways. It’s a little Fidlar with a little less production. Just when I was about ready to pull my car out of my garage to make room for a little skate session in my garage, “Make It” shifted the vibe to something a bit calmer. This album honestly couldn’t have ended on a better track. Although still very garage-punk-rock-pop-punk, there’s just something a bit more restrained about this track that really seals the deal as far as how great this album is.
Just when I was getting up to turn off my stereo so I could write my ending paragraph, the album switched to the next track. I was so surprised but it was a pleasant surprise. “Punker Than Me” is the first of two bonus tracks that are “hidden” on this album. Although I really liked how the album “ended” with “Make It”, the fury of “Punker Than Me” and the perfect lyrics to go with it really had me sold. The “real” last song, “That’s What You Do”, much like “Make It” was the perfect “real ending”. Again, a little bit subdued in volume and fury but not lacking energy, this capped off this sixteen track release in a perfect way and it made me excited to dig into some other material that Geoff Palmer has out there.
If you ever find yourself stuck for some new music, look in familiar places. Find a blog you trust or find a label that has never let you down. Thank you Rum Bar Records for being that label and thank you, Geoff Palmer, for providing a perfect soundtrack to my Monday night.
My Favorite Track(s): “I Like Murder Too”; “Everything Is Cool”; “Donut”
For Fans Of: Pop-Punk; Garages; Retro Sounds
Dance-ability: 9 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Both cats slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
Check Out Geoff Palmer Here:
Check out ‘Pulling Out All The Stops’ HERE!
Check Out Some More Releases From Rum Bar Records HERE!
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