We have been super excited to finally share our full review of Palps incredible new album Black Heart also we got to view their eight chapter video companion which is one of the most extraordinary things we have seen in quite sometime. We also had the privilege of chatting with Vocalist and Lyricist Alex Gray and have added some of his thoughts and insights about the record.
The album started out as many albums do with songs starting out in skeleton form and then they begin to take shape. However, as the band began to formulate the new album PALPS, found themselves like the rest of the world faced with a global pandemic. Alex Gray shared with that one of the saving graces was that during the pandemic per the musicians union they were allowed to practice once a week .
Not only did the band have the task of putting the album together but they also had the eight part video story as well. Alex remarked that it was the first time that he had written a script so, the band teamed up with director Arthur René Walwin . Alex explained “Arthur was great in that we would share our idea’s and he would tell us what would work and wouldn’t work”
When talking with Alex Gray it was fascinating to hear the process of putting everything together.Alex also shared with us that parts of “Black Heart” are autobiographical definitely makes the project more authentic and certainly heartfelt. One of the things that made this such interesting endeavor was that band brilliantly release one song and one video beginning in March 2022 and continued with a new character every month.
The first track “Ava” you are immediately greeted by the thunderous drumming of Hayden Crease . The song presents its self is almost like a wave that is building and building sonically but then comes crashing ashore. Vocally Alex Gray gives a very emotional performance that really helps you feel connected to the story especially when paired with the visuals.
With the visual for “Ava” you start to get a real feel for the story . You meet “Matt” and “Rose” and get to watch their story unfold and develop . You can see the great care that was taken to really make you feel connected to these characters. You not only get to feel their joy but you also are front and center for their pain .
The second track “Love, Always you get this uneasy feeling as the melody starts off slow followed by the feeling of the song changing course almost as if to symbolize the moods of “Matt” The lyric “In Six months I might feel incredible I’ll just have to wait and see “ we feel that really gives you a read as to where “Matt” is mentally.
When speaking with Alex we talked at length about the prominent theme throughout the album and visuals which is mental health . Alex explains” Black Heart at its core is about how traumatic events and mental health struggles can leave you hardened, no longer able to express love in the same way that you used to and can often lead to you hurting those closest to you, without you even realising.”
The visuals for “Love,Always “ do an excellent job in mirroring the melodic presentation in the song . We are able to see “Matt” truly in a fog and having dark thoughts and emotions creep in. This is more evident by the arrival of “The Plaque Doctor “ who represents “Matt’s dark thoughts
Track Three “Consequences “ is perhaps our favorite track on the whole record. Palps are magnificently in sync on this track. It is a thing of pure beauty . The guitar work of both Alex Gray and Liam Kelly is absolutely stunning . The bass line in “Consequences “ is just absolutely epic it is the kind of bass line that makes you “stand up and notice” Dan Chapman has phenomenal skills. Hayden Crease is a supreme keeper of the beat and Alex Gray once again delivers a flawless vocal
Another thing that we absolutely love about “Consequences” is the collaboration with vocalist Kirstie McEwen her vocals add another dimension to the track and are matched up perfectly with the visuals.
The visual for “Consequences” show “Matt” still in a state of disarray but he is attempting to pull together as he cleans the apartment and decides to call “Rose” The vocal performance displayed by Kirstie McEwen representing “Rose” is truly epic we also see another appearance by “The Plaque Doctor “
Track Four “Messages” is a well crafted tune that artfully articulates where the story is heading with frantic well orchestrated melodies and passionate vocals.
Visually “Messages” shows “Matt “ becoming more and more disconnected with reality (hence him not responding to messages) “Matt” totally disconnected and spiraling as he is visited yet again by “The Plaque Doctor “Matt” appears to be on the way out but is saved by someone…..
Track Five – “In My Head “ proves that Palps are absolutely masters in using speed and tempo to drive home a thought or feeling in the track . We were very impressed with the melodic presentation.
The visual for “In My Head “Gives us insight as to who “Charlotte is. Who does her best to help “Matt” back on his feet by helping him get a job . He appears to be happy and content….
Track Six – “Imprint “ This song melodically has all the feels . The more we listen to this track it feels like a modern day power ballad the music and vocals really tug at your heart strings .
Visually we learn that “Charlotte “ wants make things more permanent with “Matt” unfortunately “Matt” doesn’t feel the same .
When we were chatting with Alex Gray we expressed that we personally felt bad for “Charlotte “ as she really cared for “Matt” Alex shared with us that some people have told him they are “Team Charlotte “ and others are “Team Rose” We are clearly “Team Charlotte “
Visually we see that “Matt and “Charlotte “ do not want the same things as “Matt is obviously still hung up about “Rose” we see “Charlotte “leaving and another visit from “The Plaque Doctor”……
Track 7-“Before The Black” has this very somber feeling to it . The opening guitar riffs almost sound like bells tolling to symbolize the end . Alex Gray delivers a passionate vocals performance with the words “I Can’t Die Yet “ sending a chill down our spine .
Visually “Before The Black” is tough on many levels. First because as you watch the different chapters you become invested in these characters. Secondly it’s hard because you just get the sense that something ominous is about to occur.
The final track on the album is “Dead” musically this is positively striking . It is a complete work of art . Everything about this song is just hauntingly perfect from the orchestration of the music. We’ve decided not to go into much detail with the track and the visuals for “Dead” The whole concept is such a brilliant display of art . Everyone needs to experience this stroke of genius for themselves.
So stop what ever you are doing and make time to experience “Black Heart “ in it’s entirety.
We want to thank Palps for giving us such a tremendous album with Black Heart . We also want to thank Alex Gray for sitting down with us and discussing the album and short film.