PALA - PALA [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)


PALA [7 inch] (2009)


PALA is a band without a clearly defined sound, making a review very difficult. There's no allegiance to a particular style, or even identity with a particular time period or geographic area. There's flashes of the super-underground screamo sound of the `90s, an occasional modern hardcore riff and lyrics that are epic in scope, reminding me a bit of Mastodon. With such a varied sound and approach, this inability to be pegged into a style will be the make or break aspect for most listeners.

PALA features two vocalists, one who sounds like a gruffer version of the main vocalist from Hot Cross, and the other who utilizes an undistorted shouting approach. The mix of two singers is vaguely reminiscent of Circle Takes the Square. The former vocalist seems to be featured more, but the second song "Astral Projection Adventure" has them both trading parts and singing at the same time, lending even more to an unpinnable sound.

Side B's lone track, "Frost and Dust" opens with a progressive riff that leads into some awesome stoner riffage and even a quick break in the music for a chorus of monks' "oooh." It leads into a part that Cave In might have left off Jupiter (that's a huge compliment from me), with some clean singing over the top. The track ends with a big building section complete with atmospheric vocals floating over top.

In just three songs, PALA manages to hit more styles than your 13-year-old cousin's wardrobe in a year, but rather than sounding forced, it combines into a working amalgamation of heavy and punk-styled music of the last 20 years. This should appeal to fans of Circle Takes the Square, `90s screamo and modern stoner bands, and especially to people who like all three.