Oliver Kalib, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, chronicles the deterioration of a friendship on Fist & Palm, his second commercial release under his recording project, Bellows. As a member of the bands Eskimeaux and Told Slant, Kalib certainly isn’t short of any musical outlets, but on Fist & Palm, he still manages to inject pensive imagery into its colorful collection of tracks.
Fist & Palm offers listeners a sensory overload with alternating bombastic and discreet instrumentation throughout each track. With the first track, “You Are A Palm Tree,” Bellows delivers a melodramatic offering of what the rest of the album has in store with its larger-than-life percussion and strategic altered vocals in the second half. Each song on the album aims to push the boundaries of modern pop and folk music while relaying an all-too-familiar tale of a friendship running its course. Large, orchestral string sections and blaring horns weave in and out of Fist & Palm’s concise 11 tracks in ways that show the capabilities of musicians to deliver maximal, future-folk songs that demand a replay just to find out each track’s hidden details.
Songs like “Orange Juice,” “Thick Skin,” and “Dark Heart” discuss the inklings of resentment when recognizing toxic tendencies in a friendship over pseudo-dance pop melodies and textured beats. This album’s visceral emotional journey comes to an end on the closing track “From the Palms” which acts as a bookend to the narrative of the record. The track’s excellent orchestral and electronic instrumentation perfectly encapsulates the overwhelmingly melancholy tone of the reflective moments of the ending of the friendship. Overall, Fist & Palm is a hard listen, but the album unveils a glimmer of hope that comes alone with cutting the ties of a waning relationship.
Recommended If You Like: Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Eskimeaux, Adult Mom, PWR BTTM
Recommended Tracks: 1 (You Are A Palm Tree), 3 (Thick Skin), 5 (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), 6 (O Joy), 8 (Bully)
Do Not Play: Clean
Written by Scott Knettle on 12/05/2016