After a couple of holiday romances in my mid-20’s it soon became clear that post-vacation long distance relationships always ended in somewhat of a whimper. A few keen phone-calls in the early days then became texts until even the eventual email trail dried up.

So, it’s with utter amazement I discovered that this excellent new Painted Palms album was written and created with cousins Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme living a full 2000 miles apart. Although the pair grew up together in Lafayette, Louisiana, Donohue eventually moved to San Francisco, while Prudhomme stayed near New Orleans.

The electronic 60s pop formula used on album ‘Forever’ produces a collection of memorable chorus’s, stunning vocals and beautiful hooks that are mouth-wateringly delicious. There are multiple layers of instrumentation that were built up by Donohue sending a short, looping beat and Prudhomme replying with a vocal melody before continuing to bounce the track back and forth between them until it was complete. It’s certainly a unique way of making music and at no point do you become aware of the distance involved in the production of the album. It has a nice balance to it more and more importantly feels almost seem-less and certainly not fragmented.

‘Sleepwalking’ has a real Beatles feel to it and cleverly uses multiple layers of vocals, but at the same time keeping the tune quite simple. ‘Here it comes’ again isn’t over-complicated. Its clever use of percussion (those wonderful Christmassy sleigh bells) and the beautiful keyboard work provide one of the stand-out tracks on the album. ‘Spinning Signs’ is the best here though. A real catchy electronic disco track, that has more of an early 80’s feel to it (rather than the 60’s atmosphere across the other tracks). There are elements of Heaven 17 in there but the sudden change of genre doesn’t upset the balance of the album.

‘Not Really There’ disappoints but the quality of the remainder of the album eclipses this. Almost every track, while sticking to that 60’s pop formula, offers something a little different and I’d certainly be interested to see if their ability to work at such distances produces the same results when they play live.

Don’t let this album slip under your radar.

Download: Here it Comes, Spinning Signs

Rating: 4 out of 5

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