Burning Palms - False Prophet
12-inch opaque yellow vinyl.
It's hard to pin down exactly what makes False Prophet so amazing. Musically, False Prophet is reminiscent of early Cure (think Pornography) or Bauhaus or Siouxsie, but such comparisons always fail. That only gives you a sense of the music, not the full depth and breadth of the way the twangy guitars layer over driving bass lines and drums that pound with ritualistic timing, driving you into madness or euphoria.
The sometimes off-key tuning and blistering guitar solos further build an underlying sense of unease that draws you in and hypnotizes you. Eerie vocals dripping menace and supernatural danger display a wide range of ability from Simone Stopford, who always evokes the right mood at the right time, from rumbling threats to banshee wails of surprise. She works with the music to build a soundtrack of fear that still leaves enough dark corners to hide in while the terror passes.
Lyrically, Burning Palms uncovers the darkness beneath the light: This is what happens when the sun goes down. In the darkness, we seek the light; in the light, we crave the shadows and look for the moon. We can't see the things following us, but we know they're there -- False Prophet is the soundtrack to keep you moving; the intricate sound of the subtle horrors that both surround us and feed us: "I did the drugs, I warped my mind."
Inner tracks "Dusk" and "Dawn" are minimalist masterpieces that complete the picture and anchor False Prophet in a playground at the edge of night. These seemingly throw-away tracks, each under a minute, elevate the overall experience and tie together the other ten tracks into a single story. The album becomes more than just a collection of songs because of them, and they prove the level of detail and artistry displayed with every note, wail, and drum beat of False Prophet. If you have to distill it to a single, “Lies” is the perfect track to test the waters: It’s the perfect microcosm of everything that makes the album great, starting with slow menace and building to a blinding crescendo, with the tantric repetition of "the sun, the moon" along the way.
But the album is so much more than single songs, it’s a whole cloth that never loses steam, and when it ends you only want to hear it again.