(Nice Swan Records, out Fri 8 Jun 2018)
Coming fast and hard from the Southside of Glasgow is the debut album Quit Now from garage punk band Sweaty Palms. In 35 ferocious minutes the group layout their opinions of contemporary culture. There’s a little bit of everything here from satirical black humour to genuine anger and it’s all wrapped up in a noisy punk sound.
Album standout Captain of the Rugby Team deals with the masculinity of lad culture. The repeating guitar riff works well, it’s catchy enough to hook listeners but also has an uneasy quality to it that goes great with the track’s theme. Robbie Houston’s wailing excels throughout the album but works particularly well here. The Illusionist has a nostalgic surf punk sound to it. It has the sort of guitar riff that’s impossible to stay still to. Possibly the most “user friendly” track on the album for listeners unaccustomed to garage punk.
Tracks like Transit Paul and The Liquid Hall offer slower takes on Sweaty Palms’ anxious energy. The latter features an interesting keyboard intro that gives listeners something different. This is continued in Community Crass which is the most distinct song on the album for its indie style synths. It’s an interesting departure from the garage sound but does come across rather jarring at the tail end of the album. However without experimentation like this a lot of the album sounds very similar. Queer Fatwa, Grey Existence and Winter Sports all sound like the same song with Winter Sports sounding the most dissimilar due to its guitar riff. Houston’s vocals do differentiate each track and there are some great lyrics within the album but only fans of the genre will notice. It’s this similarity between tracks that’s the difference between a good and great album.
With the reputation Sweaty Palms are building as a live act does this repetition matter? Their unpredictable performances make them a band any punk fan would want to see. So the negative of the album is overshadowed by the experience of witnessing them live. Sweaty Palms know who their audience are and have delivered an album for them.