New Audio: Painted Palms, New, 80s Synth Pop and New Wave-Inspired Sound on “Refractor”

If you’ve been following JOVM over the past couple of years, you’d likely recall coming across a number of posts on Painted Palms. Comprised of the cousin duo of Reese Donahue and Christopher Prudhomme, the duo have almost always used the Internet to collaborate on songwriting — at first out of necessity, as the project started out with Donahue being based in San Francisco, and Prudhomme based near New Orleans. And that virtual exchange informed the duo’s debut EP, Canopy which was championed by Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes.

After tours with Of Montreal, BRAIDSSTRFKR and others, Prudhomme moved out west to join his cousin in San Francisco, and the duo continued to collaborate via Internet (this time out of personal preference) for the band’s full-length debut Forever, which managed to mesh breezy 60s inspired psychedelia and electro pop in a way that indirectly channelled In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy.

The duo’s forthcoming sophomore effort, Horizons, slated for a September 4 release through renowned indie label, Polyvinyl Records, was mixed by former DFA Records engineer Eric Broucek, who’s worked with LCD Soundsystem and Classixx and marks the first time that the duo worked together in a studio – although they did exchange initial song ideas via email. The album’s first single “Tracer” is a chilly, synth-based song that sounds as though it were drawing from early 80s synth pop and New Wave – think Depeche ModeThe Human League and others – while retaining some of the 60s psych pop feel through the song’s vocals.

Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Refractor” continues the album’s overall sound and feel — clearly drawing from 80s synth pop and New Wave as the hook-heavy song is consists of layers of quivering, undulating and cascading synth stabs paired with plaintive harmonies revealing a decided change of sonic direction for the duo.