The all-female New York trio Palberta release Palberta5000 this week.
“While punk music was our first love, pop music has become our fixation.” — Palberta
And such intoxicating music is created with that fusion of influences. Palberta5000 is full of glorious harmonies but at the same time spikey guitars.
16 tracks on an album with 12 of them being under 3 minutes—well you just know it is going to be punchy. Palberta5000 is Palberta’s fifth album and is scheduled for release on 22 January 2021 on Wharf Cat Records. They opened for Bikini Kill at Brooklyn Steel in their home city of New York in 2019 and were set to tour the UK and Europe for the first time in April of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Palberta5000 opens with “No Way” which launches straight into a beautiful harmony, which must surely require a “1, 2, 3, 4” count in to get it spot on live.
“Big Bad Want” has a driving mantra repeated over and over “Yeah (yeah) I can’t pretend what I want.”. This is a track from the pre-COVID era and demonstrates Palbertas punk roots. “Corner Store” is another favourite from live sets in the past. The vocals here are utterly divine; not just the harmonies but the layers, one over the other. Here Palberta say, “I meet you anywhere you are” and with this album they want to meet listeners wherever they are. A sentiment that means everything right now.
The shortest track is the 18-second instrumental, “I’m Z’done”. I adore this naughty blast. For some reason it makes me smile, and I can imagine a crazy little dance to this in the middle of a live set.
The two longest tracks “Fragile Place” and “All Over My Face” both start with those beautiful harmonies but then take a sharp U-turn straight into wild guitars. It’s as if Palberta are drawing you in with the initial glorious vocals, and then shaking you right up with those frantic guitars—hence the perfect combination of punk and pop music. This has the trio at their most confident. Not afraid to show the talent in the gentle harmonies but then the ferocious punk kicks in immediately afterwards. The initial perception is stripped away, and the message is clear: don’t underestimate us.
Previous singles “Something in the Way” and “The Way That You Do” both have Palbertas angular, jerky, off-centre punky timing. There is something of Shames ramshackle approach in these tracks. They shift and weave, moving in and out of the rhythm originally laid down.
My favourite tracks are “Eggs n Bac”, “Hey” and “In Again”. At about 1min 30secs they are each a blast of serotonin. Palberta aim to provide an album that acts as an energetic complement to the movement for positive change. This is absolutely achieved in these tracks. They are fast, furious, fun, and at gigs will produce a sweat-induced workout because there is no way you can stand still while listening to them live.
The album has so much depth and variety. It chops and changes and keeps the listener on their toes, providing swift changes in pace and delightful surprises around every corner. Palberta5000’s well-rehearsed songs were recorded in four days, and each track was never recorded in more than three takes. Bearing in mind Palberta’s rollicking instrumentation and vocal precision this demonstrates how tight this band truly is.
New York trio Ani Ivory-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser met while attending Bard College and formed Palberta in 2013. Of course they were devastated not to be able to tour as planned in 2020 and are looking forward to doing so when the circumstances allow it.
Palberta5000 is their fifth album and is scheduled for release on 22 January 2021 on Wharf Cat Records.