“It’s not a perfect record, but then you wouldn’t want it to be” – The Quietus’ Emily Mackay hits the nail right on the head in her review of Palma Violets’ debut album 180: the London quartet’s most endearing quality isn’t their pop-sensible hooks, psychedelically-tinged guitar hooks, or their shambling romantic lyrics – it’s their raw, ramshackle earnestness and unabashed sincerity that makes them stand out in a crowded field of Englishmen with guitars. Backed by keyboardist Peter Mayhew and drummer Will Doyle, band frontmen Chilli Jesson and Sam Fryer rapidly stumble through their catalog of small garage rock gems, bringing anyone and everyone in the audience who will come with them. They’re aware that they’re not the most technically skilled band in the world, or even the best one, but when they stop to give themselves a round of applause halfway through live favorite “Tom The Drum”, they don’t come off as pretentious Libertines wannabes, but rather, four rascals who are excited about little more than playing music with their friends, regardless of what the NME thinks. So yeah, Palma Violets aren’t perfect, but they’re a hell of a lot better of a band for of it.
Their performance during our broadcast at SXSW from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin almost didn’t happen, as the band was waiting on Jesson’s plane to land from the U.K., but he arrived with just minutes to spare and the Palma Violets ripped into “Johnny Bagga’ Donuts” and eight other tracks from their soon to be released in the U.S. debut, 180. Throughout their high energy set, Jesson wailed and flailed like a pre-seasoned rock stars, drawing out loud cheers and even some magic finger response. This was only Palma Violet’s second performance in the country, but you can expected a full invasion this summer.