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Hearts of Palm

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Album Review

Lionel Richie might have sung about dancing on the ceiling, but Jeff Martin and Dan Seta have created something better suited for staring at the ceiling. Hearts of Palm is perfect for those days when you can't quite muster the desire or energy to roll out of bed. It's the most subdued Idaho record yet, but it's also their most intricate. No storming guitars to be found, and no real soul-drenched catharsis going on — just, well, contemplation. But as with the whole of the band's catalog, there's little immediacy. That's no sore point; Idaho are one of the best at roping you in with their subtleties. Songs like "Dum Dum" and "Before You Go" fade in like watching a photograph develop. Seta and Martin's guitars mainly supply shading, as most everything is drum- or piano-driven. Martin is becoming so excellent at production that it wouldn't be surprising to see many artists request his skills. The moods he can create with one treated guitar track are pretty amazing, as evidenced throughout the majority of the 11 songs. Hearts of Palm might not be as bleak as the Idaho of old, but there's still that undeniable sense of melancholy that's guaranteed with the sound of Martin's voice. Even when he seems genuinely happy in "Alta Dena," there's still a sense of pain and tension. Idaho might never be in a hurry, but there's enough going on to warrant your attention. Don't miss the stunning instrumental closer, filled with lovely Durutti Column-like guitar wriggles and mournful, echoed piano.


Formed: 1991 in California

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most prolific, consistent, and unsung acts classified as slowcore, Los Angeles, California's Idaho is led by four-string guitarist and vocalist Jeff Martin, an unflinching songwriter who gained comparisons to Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters), and Neil Young from the few journalists who paid attention. Despite the lack of recognition from the press and a low profile, Idaho gained a decent-sized underground following through a steady release schedule during...
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Hearts of Palm, Idaho
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