If there is ever a reason to not download something, Postcard is it. It is a CD of 8 songs but the magic is hearing them in their pure produced form off speakers. The complete package is alive and original.
Palmer’s name may be familiar. She has played with Devotchka, 16 Horsepower, M. Ward and many others. For this album she has assembled her own band including Tim Husman on drums, Audrey Marold on accordion, Ryan Drickey on cello, and Charles Parker Mertens on upright bass. Palmer demonstrates her multi-instrument proficiency playing Nyckelharpa, violin, guitar, keyboard, cello and more. Did I also mention she sings?
Palmer’s voice is reminiscent of Enya or Kate Bush with a subtler, softer range. Her Swedish accent flavors her English songs with a distinct presence, and makes her traditional Swedish folksongs come very alive. The music can’t be classified. At one point it sounds like a classical string quartet, or straight folk songs. Then you go a chord and it is a hook ridden pop song that begs to be danced to. Palmer’s music is easy accessible to those used to Devotchka, Dresden Dolls. People who love pop will also be drawn into this easily addictive music.
There are eight songs on the album including two traditional Swedish folk songs: Stora Stővlar and Duvardär. The title track “Postcard” is a highly addictive pop song. It is filled with the Nyckelharpa, a traditional Swedish instrument, and accordion. Another standout song is “Whaleboat” whose crystal clear imagery holds the frost in the air. “House” projects a fear of loneliness and isolation while “Time” feels like the progression of the seasons. Palmer’s lyrics are often repetitive but never seem to grow tiring. Every track is golden and worth more voluminous words than here. They are also worth multiple listens. Production on the album feels top notch for instruments that can be difficult to capture and credit must be given to Bob Ferbrache. Postcard is an ensemble and must be listened as such.
Palmer has played backup too many artists so it is a pleasure to hear her shine by herself. This solo work should mark the beginning of a new name to fill theaters everywhere. For more information visit www.myspace.com/elinpalmer