Palm Haus – Spaceman [Album Review]

Words: Joe Wilson

Palm Haus by Spaceman is a classic record befit of a band who aptly knows how to create fazing guitar-driven soundscapes and retrospective nods to previous genres. A tidy record inside and out, the album washes over from start to finish in a whirling tsunami-like concoction of shoegaze, psychedelia and art-rock. With the vocals spaced out throughout the album; Palm Haus hones in on instrumentals and in some ways eliminates the listener’s focus on the enigmatic vocals of a lead singer; instead drawing largely upon the talented machinations of the band itself.  

The album starts off with the fazey delights of The Stars Are Not Eyes, which helps set up and illustrate the main vibe of the album, a trendy wash of alt-pysch rock. Grains of Sound leads on afterwards, taking a slower vibe at the onset but kicking into gear after the inclusion of the spaced-out reverbed-up vocals. Brash, mischievous and loud; it feels like being hit around the head with concrete slab o’ shoegaze. Altzheimers is definitely the standalone track in this album, exhibiting intricate funky workings with the bass and rhythm guitars; the track really brings a life onto its own, giving a generous dollop of swing to the listener. The latter half of the album is a glistening array of fuzzy distortion and 8-bit quirk (Slow Dream); Losing Ground is an especially compelling head banger.

Palm Haus is a pendulum of sorts; the tracks swing between two different spaces; one moment you’ll feel like you are emerging into a dreamy soundscape, but right at the cusp of that moment the band tosses you into a heady dosage of classic lo-fi rock. If applied the wrong way, the album can feel haphazardly done but Palm Haus doesn’t feel like that as an album, the tracks flow in masterful strokes. Spaceman have done a really good job with this record; helping the listener launch themselves into a space they couldn’t otherwise access. If their moniker is anything to go by then perhaps we are all astronauts for listening.