REVIEW: Palisades – ‘Mind Games’

palisades

Artist: Palisades
Album: Mind Games
Label: Rise Records
Genre: Electronic Hardcore

It’s getting pretty hard to define what a genre is in today’s music scene. Lately, hardcore music has been thriving in more of an “electronicore” style, combining the party elements of EDM and the moshing atmosphere of heavy rock and roll, reeling in a more widespread group of listeners. Palisades are a rising group showcasing this unique sound, further proving their strength in this scene with their second full-length album, Mind Games.

Palisades have always been known for their electronic sounds and party tones within their heavy breakdowns, but Mind Games makes sure to capitalize on the mainstream elements of the record right out of the gate. Opener “Player Hater’s Ball,” featuring blackbear, explodes with sounds similar to I See Stars and Issues as they hit all the EDM, hardcore, and R&B points with each note. It’s a strong opener that directs the idea of the album, following in the footsteps of electronicore groups who have been at it even longer. “Mind Games,” featuring Champs, drives home a raging EDM beat, resembling the likes of Breathe Carolina, as well.

This raving introduction is quite the way to begin an album, but the songs that make it special are “No Chaser” and “Bad Girls.” The fun and jumpy beat is common, but the irresistible melodies on these tracks give Palisades that poppy niche, expanding the limits of the genre even further.

Palisades are beautifully consistent with the party vibe they have established for themselves, but start using different lyrical intentions halfway through the album. “Whatever You Want It To Be” is packed with the chaotically-heavy EDM strength, but is steered by the story of a personal relationship (“Selfish motivation’s what tore us up / And now you’ve seen enough”), rather than the expressive fixation on girls in a club as portrayed in “Bad Girls.”

They even gear themselves closer towards the hardcore scene rather than mainstream on tracks like “People Like Us,” which features Garret Rapp of The Color Morale. This highlight on Mind Games meshes together all the catchy vocals, electronic sparks, and smooth guitar riffs to create a cohesive song that can appeal to a large amount of music fans.

However, when a band of this particular scene is the life of the party, the road they take can lessen the appreciation of other musical elements. A raving lifestyle is usually captured with this sound of music, which is perfectly acceptable and applicable, but sometimes Palisades focus too much on explosive EDM rather than a melody that brings it all together, which happens on “Like A Drug.”

This lack of prominence is also on the disappointing closer, “Come Over And Watch Netflix.” The band’s attempt to be atmospheric and dreamy comes off as a soundtrack for a cheesy ad for a Caribbean vacation. They have the right ideas, but don’t always execute it properly. The song that really should have closed the record is “True Blood,” the penultimate cut. This powerhouse explodes in sound with its liberating melody and fierce elements, balancing everything that Palisades does right on Mind Games.

On their sophomore album, Palisades do a fantastic job of stabilizing their style and improving their skills. From what we’ve heard so far from this genre, there are a million different ways a band can go about their music uniquely, and it seems like Palisades is getting there. They prove their versatility on Mind Games, anticipating a strong and widespread acceptance, hopefully from fans from more than one genre.

SCORE: 7.5/10
Review written by Emma Guido

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