PALS // Somewhere New [Single Review]

Band: PALS

Release: Somewhere New Area: Newcastle Date of release: 22/10/2018 Genre: Alternative Rock Record Label: No-Fi Records For Fans Of: Title Fight, Touché Amore, Thursday, Quicksand, Rival Schools, Violent Soho

"And I suppose, I don't know what to feel on my own."

Bands can spend years, decades even, trying to find that ever-elusive spark, more commonly referred to as “energy”. Many an act has written stellar songs, with catchy lyrics and bop-along melodies, but when they lack energy and passion, they can very easily fall by the wayside. Well 'Somewhere New', the most recent single from Newcastle alternative rockers, PALS, is not lacking in that department. Forging an almost post-punk vibe with a level of élan not common in Aussie bands, this track can be defined as nothing but stimulating. Slow, note-driven guitar-bass-combined, ostinato figures kick off 'Somewhere New' and hold steady the ironically, very obviously, monotonous, lyrics. The drums kick in as the second stanza of verse starts, and, while basic in their undertones, really bring the song together. As the pre-chorus kicks in, the energy rises, leading into a sing-a-long made for a small venue, with beer-soaked patrons stage diving and screaming along together. But it’s the second verse that I think brings this track to a whole new level. It would have been very safe, easy, and probably reasonable, to have repeated the riff and melody from the opening verse in the second. Instead, however, alternating bass and guitar dropouts offer a new element, which can only indicate thorough understand of the music they are trying to make, and musical articulation in general. This notion is continued in the outro, when a small guitar solo, which, in about 99 cases out of 100, would have fed back into another chorus, instead escorts the song into an abrupt end. It seems cliché does not ring true with the guys in PALS. They are trying to create something they can be proud of. And they have. 'Somewhere New' is not ground-breaking, but it doesn’t need to be. It is different. Different, however, does not necessarily equate to good. In this case, though, it does. PALS have not written this song just to bring something new, or altered, to the table. They have written it because this is what they want to express. And that, alone, makes me happy. These guys are definitely a band to watch, and continued barrier-pushing and raw, energetic, exuberance can only help these Novocastrians on their journey. If nothing else, when listening to this song, I was left thinking to myself “I suppose I don’t know what to feel on my own”, and if a band can make me think something as profoundly existential as that at 9:13pm on a Sunday night, then they are doing pretty well by me. I’ve found myself some new PALS.

Vocals: 7.5/10 Guitars: 8.5/10 Bass: 8.5/10 Drums: 8.5/10 Lyrics: 4/5 Would You Go And See Them (WYGAST): 4.5/5 Mixing: 8.5/10 Production: 16/20 Structure: 19/20 Overall: 85/100 Personal Enjoyment: 9/10

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