Few Tucson bands in recent years have been as polarizing as Burning Palms. Regarded and derided equally as soulful psych-rockers and charlatans, accomplished, economical players and untrained musicians who can barely hold together a primitive racket, visionaries and overly reliant on image—Burning Palms are actually all of these things. The group, under the tutelage of singer/guitarist/songwriter Simone Stopford, is a complex and multi-layered animal.
Ostensibly a psych/garage revival band, Stopford’s songs are handcrafted pop under the veneer of swirling guitars and tribal drums, which means that the band’s music has aged far better than many of its early-2010s garage revivalist peers. Furthermore, I have little doubt that the upcoming Burning Palms record (recorded by Stopford with a completely different line-up than 2014’s self-titled album) will contain nary a trace of the previous ‘60s-flavored sound.
“Hologram” skitters along on a divided Bo Diddley beat that starts and stops until the familiar shuffle is gone. Stopford and co-vocalist Julia DeConcini stomp and dance atop the rhythm, disappearing and appearing again in the holes in the music like the artificial image of the track’s title and mumbled, sighed lyrics.
The song marches around in a circle for a couple of minutes, almost aimlessly. But the abrupt ending pulls the preceding sounds into focus—by playing around with silence and noise and beats, “Hologram” actually resembles its namesake. And for a band with a seemingly unlimited bag of tricks, banishing the laws of reality in their own music ranks with the best of them. Go see see them Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 191 Toole with Thee Oh Sees. Doors at 7.