Painted Palms haven’t wasted any time getting their second album out. Just a year and a half after the release of the psych pop album Forever, they’re back on the scene with Horizons. It’s a more focused package than their debut, shorter and hitting a redefined, cohesive sound compared to the variety of their first album. It’s the kind of progression you’d expect, but not one that’s entirely for the best.
Rather than their old natural psych sound, a synth heavy one was chosen this time. The result is something simpler and more electronic, with a serious 80s twist. Songs all follow a similar structure, with the biggest variation between songs being the tempo of each track; Disintegrate and Echoes are slower tracks, Refractor and Contact are faster, and the rest fall somewhere between the two extremes. They still don’t sound all that different from each other though, which is exacerbated by the shout-singing style employed throughout the album.
As an album, it feels a lot less creative than their first. The lack of variation can sometimes trick you into thinking a song hasn’t ended yet when in reality you’re halfway through the next one, which was especially noticeable between Control and Disintegrate. It doesn’t make for a bad album, but it’s one that’s more engaging at the start than it is at the end. The first track Refractor is the most enjoyable track of the bunch, with the 80s sound being taken to its extreme during the chorus and showing off the best that the album has to offer.
Horizons is definitely weaker than its predecessor. It’s not a terrible package though, but rather one that feels like it came from a different band. The style of the album is enjoyable, but it also acts as an example of an album that’s too cohesive for its own good, causing it to fall off in the second half. It might not have been the best move for Painted Palms to make, but with some fine tuning and inspiration from their debut it could lead to something great for the next album.