After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing, recording and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. Lekkas initially started Palm Ghosts as a solo recording project — and as a creative outlet to cope with an incapacitating bout of depression and anxiety.
During a long prototypically Northeastern winter, he recorded a batch of introspective songs that at the time, he dubbed “sun-damaged American music” that would eventually become the project’s full-length debut. After a short tour in 2013 to support the album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Nashville, enticed by the city’s growing indie rock scene.
Palm Ghosts’ third album, 2018’s Architecture was a change in sonic direction for the project with Lekkas writing material influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order, The Cure, and others.
Much like countless acts across the world, Lekkas and his bandmates spent much of the lockdown being busy: The isolation of the lockdowns, plus socioeconomic and financial turmoil, protests and demonstrations fueled an immediacy and energy in the songs that Lekkas and company had been writing at the time.
If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you might recall that the band released their fourth album Lifeboat Candidate earlier this year. The album was a fittingly dark and dystopian effort, full of confusion, fear and dread, fueled by isolation, frustration, unrest and uncertainty. And while the world feels little changed since last year, the band’s fifth album Lost Frequency is a very different album.
Initially meant for release last year, the album hearkens back to the before, when things were somewhat normal — or at least seemingly less uneasy, which is what most of us are desperately clamoring for, after endless death and fear for the better part of a year. In a loose sense, Lost Frequency feels almost celebratory — and perhaps a bit more nostalgic, than its immediate predecessor. But the material lyrically brings confrontation to the forefront, reminding the listener that at this juncture, normalcy is devastating.
Lost Frequency‘s first single “Bloodlight” continues a run of hook-driven material indebted to The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode and the like with the song being centered around tweeter and woofer thumping beats, shimmering guitars, hypnotic, motorik grooves, atmospheric synths and an enormous hook. And while dance floor friendly, the song lyrically is a seething indictment of humanity and its treatment of Mother Earth.
“‘Bloodlight,’ the album opener, is a dark dance track that compares the climate crisis to a crime scene,.” Palm Ghosts’ Joseph Leekas explains in press notes. “Luminol is a chemical commonly used in forensics for the detection of blood stains. Nothing vanishes without a trace and particles of blood adhere to surfaces for years.
“The same applies to what humans have done to the earth. The damage will remain long after we are gone.”