Fake Palms are streaming their ‘Heavy Paranoia’ EP in full via Soundcloud in advance of its release – take a listen below. The EP is due out September 30th via Buzz Records, and as Fake Palms’ lead songwriter and guitarist Mike le Riche told Noisey, it sees the band expanding its sound in a cleaner and more pop-oriented direction even as they delve into darker and more personal themes.
“This is this poppiest thing I’ve ever done in terms of songwriting,” le Riche says. “We went into it thinking like ‘let’s do an 80s thing.’ We were listening to a lot of 80s punk records like Gang of Four, Television, and The Kids where they didn’t have any budget but went into the studio and hit record, played as fast as they could, and that was the record, but it turned out really poppy. I’ve been interested in bands like Of Montreal where they can make an amazing dance record but the lyrics and the songs subjects are incredibly depressing things like going through drug addictions, divorces or stuff like that. I like the fact that weirdly this is what came out of it.”
Led by le Riche, Fake Palms have progressed over the last 18 months from a collection of demos recorded in his Toronto bedroom, into one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the ctiy’s thriving music scene. Their self-titled debut LP was recorded in early 2015 after le Riche recruited several longtime Toronto music stalwarts including members of Hooded Fang and Slim Twig’s backing band, attracting immediate attention from Buzz Records. Tracked in a series of stripped down, live of the floor sessions in keeping with the project’s bedroom origins the LP, released on Buzz in August of 2015, garnered praise from Pitchfork, Stereogum, Fader, and Noisey among others and propelled them into a prolonged stretch of touring with bands like Alvvays, Protomartyr, HEALTH and Destruction Unit, solidifying Fake Palms’ reputation as a punishing yet dynamic live act.
In the spring the band entered the studio again to work with Josh Korody (Dilly Dally, Weaves, Fucked Up) and Shehzaad Jiwani of Greys on ‘Heavy Paranoia’. According to le Riche, the new material is reflective of the time the band has spent together as a unit, and broadens the scope of their approach to production while maintaining a commitment to directness and clarity.
“Working with Josh and Shehzaad was interesting because they pushed us to be as direct as we could and not hide beneath a wall of sludge and haze like we did on the first record,” le Riche says. “Everything feels very tightly wound, and they pushed us to keep things lightweight, not needlessly doubling a guitar or vocal take or adding a bunch of noise and distortion. I think they really helped us find our footing in something new, albeit a logical progression from the first record”
In contrast to the first album, which was recorded after the band had rehearsed together twice, the EP is reflective of the cohesion that has developed as the band have played together over the last year, and is the product of a writing process le Riche describes as being “much more deliberate,” than on their debut. Their writing process has also grown more collaborative as they have spent more time together, with greater contributions to the writing process from le Riche’s band mates, guitarist Patrick Marshall, drummer Simone Tisshaw-Baril and new bassist Kyle Connolly of WISH, but in spite of this le Riche broaches some more personal subjects than he has in the past.
“Thematically the EP deals a lot with death. Both people close to us, and in a sense of the world at large. I write a lot about my brother’s passing as it’s still something I’m dealing with and will probably continue to deal with the rest of my life. Aside from that, it’s a very scary time to be alive, and the willful ignorance of the public to the impending doom in every aspect but especially the environment dominates my thoughts most of the time. The title references that.”
1. Collar Bone
Fake Palms will be heading to POP Montreal on September 22nd for a show with Holy Fuck at Théâtre Fairmount – check out the details here.