Palomica – Petito

About the Importance of Personal PR

Giving your e-mail the subject “FAO Caspar Jacobs” and mentioning Frozy is a guaranteed way to grab my attention for Palomica.

As an aside: WHY THE FUCK IS NO ONE WRITING ABOUT FROZY?! Not Pitchfork (but who cares), nor GoldFlakePaint (and this is right up their alley), not even Collapse Board (who normally are miles ahead… or decades behind). Helloooo Everett True? Frozy comes closer to The Marine Girls than anything else. Their debut Lesser Pop was a whole lost childhood in thirteen small songs. Like a fantastic trick, the magic is happening right in front of us, and yet no one is paying attention but me.

Palomica is Nicol Parkinson, who is also one-third of Frozy, so their sound is very similar. It’s the world returned to a childlike simplicity, through the power of cute tunes and polite noise. Time to start listening!

Playing Pokemon Go

Second only to humans, pigeons must be some of the most banal animals on earth. Those who have, like me, been playing Pokémon Go recently will agree, with all those Pidgeys virtually flying around. The cover of Petito has pigeons on it too, although one of them is made out of wood like an imposter. And of course as an imposter, you’re always worried the others will find out that you don’t belong. This pigeon looks like he’s at a family party talking to his younger siblings, awkwardly pretending he isn’t an adult to avoid having to make conversation. Maybe that’s what the cute duet ‘Honeydew’ is about, Parkinson singing “I keep on talking but I’m not really hoping to be heard”, the same line later repeated by Oh Peas, who also adds: “I’ve been writing bad poetry I’ll probably just keep to myself”. And in a sense, ‘Honeydew’ is the most grown-up song on Petito, because it so blatantly acknowledges the inherent shame we feel for what we say and think (especially the English!). Adulthood as an existential imposter syndrome.

But most of Petito is about denying this feeling and indulging in the freedom of childhood (the album was recorded in Parkinson’s childhood bedroom). When everyday stuff like pigeons weren’t annoying, and when I wouldn’t have to feel ever so slightly ashamed of playing a Pokémon game. If only the world was still that simple… (But if it was, would we understand music, would we know love?)

The Noise

The world is full of noise. Part of becoming an adult is learning how to filter and order that noise, ignoring the seemingly unimportant bits, the pigeons and silly games and thoughts you should probably keep to yourself. Going back to childhood means going back to that noise.

The Noise is present on Petito as primitive and friendly ‘incidental outside sounds’, or as artificial guitar Noise, screeching and steaming. On Petito, this kind of Noise is restrained, as can be heard on the instrumental title track, which starts and stops a couple of times before slowing down rather than exploding. It’s a car falling apart while driving. Closing song ‘Big Black Clouds’ on the other hand is full of radio tuning sounds, static noise and singing voices. Hidden between the white audio speckles I also hear dripping water, clinking glasses, and an ambulance. It is scary – “Big black clouds inside your head again”, Parkinson sings – but freeing too, reducing the world to simplicity in a stream of sensations. The Noise allows us to forget, and to dream.

(And to come back to my remark that ‘Honeydew’ is the least childish song on here, it’s also the clearest, without any of this Noise.)


“Days and days away”

You know how sometimes just a part of a sentence out of a song gets stuck in your head? After the noise in ‘Ribbons’ settles down, Nicol Parkinson matter-of-factly says “Days and days away / Days and days awake”, in a tone both optimistic and regretful. It’s a phrase of a sentence you might easily miss, but really this is the essence of Petito: the world is just days and days away, with “trains and planes to take”. It’s a world full of Noise, but also filled with beautiful sounds we have to find. That’s an obligation, but Palomica helps us see that it’s also an adventure.

-- Caspar Jacobs, July 25, 2016