Throughout the course of this site’s 12 year history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts. Led by singer/songwriter and producer and Ice Queen Records founder Joseph Lekkas, Palm Ghosts can trace its origins to when Lekkas lived in Philadelphia: 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, Lekkas recorded a batch of introspective songs that at the time, he dubbed “sun-damaged American music,” which eventually became the project’s full-length debut. After a short tour in 2013 to support the album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Music City, enticed by its growing indie rock scene.
Palm Ghosts’ third album, 2018’s Architecture was a decided change in sonic direction with Lekkas crafting material influenced by the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order, The Cure, and others.
Much like countless musical acts across the globe, Lekkas and his bandmates spent the forced downtime of the pandemic, attempting to be as busy as they possible could: They wrote a ton of new material informed by a year or so of quarantine-related isolation, socioeconomic and financial instability, protests and demonstrations.
Last year, the JOVM mainstays released two albums, their fourth album, Lifeboat Candidate and their fifth album, Lost Frequency. Lifeboat Candidate was a fittingly dark, dystopian effort full of confusion, fear and dread that drew from the events and circumstances of the year preceding its release. Interestingly, Lost Frequency is a much different album: Initially scheduled for a 2020 release, Palm Ghosts’ fifth album harkens back to before the pandemic, when things seemed more or a less normal and carefree — or at least somehow a bit less uneasy and desperately urgent. In some way, the album’s material feels both celebratory, escapist, and perhaps even somewhat nostalgic. But paradoxically, the album’s material lyrically brings confrontation to the forefront, reminding the listener that nothing is normal — and that normalcy and the desire to return to it is extremely destructive.
The JOVM’s mainstays forthcoming sixth album Post Preservation reveals an entirely different side of the band. The album’s material features love songs — and there’s even a hint of optimism and some light showing through the cracks. But it’s still 2022, and there’s still plenty of darkness and discontent to the proceedings to balance the sunniness of much of the material. Conceived as a sort of soundtrack to a long lost John Hughes film, Post Preservation is full of nostalgic longing for a world that no longer exists, except in our hearts and minds.
Post Preservation‘s latest single “Cross Your Heart” is a swooning, hook-driven power ballad that sonically is one-part Psychedelic Furs‘ “Pretty in Pink,” one-part Simple Minds‘ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” and paired with earnest, lived-in lyrics that describe being in — and perhaps out of — love, at the end of the world.
The accompanying video is nostalgia-fueled fever dream featuring the band playing the song together at what appears to be either a house party or a rehearsal space, fuzzy nuclear snow, images of sun-dappled forests, adding to the overall dystopian yet hopeful feel.