FILE UNDER: POWER POP, UNBEARABLY CHEERFUL
Palomar III: Revenge of Palomar
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If the lyrics on Palomar III: Revenge of Palomar are any indication, lead singer Rachel's boyfriend is, well . . . a real fucking jerk. When he's not offering some half-assed justification for his own selfish needs, as he does in "Talk to Your Captor!" ("In the end, it all works out for you/It sucks, but that's your thought each time you say/That 'In the end, it all works out'"), he's insulting her and her friends for their piss-poor moves on the dance floor ("Sit down, give up/You suck, you dance bad" goes the refrain of the aptly-named "You Dance Bad"). And on "Liquor Store," Rachel laments, "We said we'd meet/outside the liquor store/and I was there/waiting for you last Sunday," which prompts the question: "So—where the hell is this double-talking breaker of hearts, this man of five-star footwork, this self-obsessed, terminally depressed emo brat?" Well, it's always possible the poor, misunderstood sap's got a faulty pancreas—and he's flat on his ass in some back alley, having fallen into a diabetic coma following excessive consumption of plastic-bottle rum and cokes in conjunction with Palomar's sugary-sweet, cotton-candy power pop. But chances are the Brooklyn, New York-based quartet's overly earnest, painfully chipper approach to songwriting simply sent the guy running. And understandably so: between the chiming guitars, the sophomore-year English-major lyrics and the double-time tempo of what—if played at half-speed—could almost be considered soothing chamber pop, it's as if someone slipped a half-dozen uppers into Belle & Sebastian's drinks. Which is a good thing, but—as with any pleasurably mood-altering substance—there are plenty of potentially harmful side-effects involved, making Palomar's third full-length a better listen when taken in small doses. And if Rachel's next suitor happens to learn from his predecessor's mistakes, leaving her with nothing but her own happiness to mull over, make sure to stock up on Prozac and horse tranquilizers before Palomar IV: The Unbearable Cheerfulness of Palomar is released.