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Rhythm & Views

Palomar

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There was a time, about 10 years ago, when you could find bands like Palomar around every street corner. Three girls, one guy who plays drums, and power chords, power chords, power chords. These days, the female presence in independent music is almost so permeated no one notices it anymore; the token girl bass player is no longer a token; it's a fact of life. Many all-girl (or mostly girl) bands these days, though, have some sort of affect: They're punk; they're garage; they're going to kick your ass. They have something that makes them distinct. Palomar is none of these things. They're an anachronism, a relic of the heyday of "alternative rock," of bands like Veruca Salt, Lush and Tuscadero, girl bands who just played some nice pop rock songs without that feminist or punk distinction.

Which would be great, except that in this case, it renders Palomar simply unremarkable. The songs have creative names ("Fried Palomari," "You Dance Bad," "Knitting for Pleasure"), but they don't go beyond the basic two guitar, bass and drums formula. That's not to say the album is entirely without its moments--"Albacore" has catchy vocal harmonies, and some of the guitar melodies are fun--but for the most part, Revenge of Palomar feels more like revenge of 1994, except it's a wimpy, pacifist kind of revenge.

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