There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Palomar’s third album may have a stay-away subtitle, but the Brooklyn pop-punk band is actually getting friendlier with age. Instead of masochistic song titles such as “Sharp Stick in the Eye” and kiss-my-ass lyrics such as “I don’t give a fuck what you think about”—both of which can be found on the group’s jangly, angry self-titled 1998 debut—Palomar III: Revenge of Palomar is a continuous burst of sun seemingly designed to cheer up late summer’s ever-shortening days. The foursome’s current lineup, consisting of original vocalist/songwriter Rachel Warren, bassist Sarah Brockett, former Trixie Belden guitarist Christina Prostano, and new drummer Dale Miller, takes a mere 38 minutes to blast through 14 songs dominated by buoyant harmonies and loads of Fastbacks-noisy hooks. Ignore the seafood theme suggested by track titles such as “Fried Palomari,” “The Snapper,” and “Albacore.” As that last candy-coated, singalong number proves, Palomar’s just playin’: Warren’s intricate lyrics tend toward the traditional pop-song topics of friendship and romance, not novelty-act-style menu-sampling. (Albacore, it turns out, is a guy whose car is a “permanent wreck” because he “[doesn’t] stop for the weekends.”) True, at times, Palomar III does get a bit too precious: A squeaky-toy click track, for example, ironically introduces the more serious-minded “Work Is a State Function,” and Warren’s breathy, Kim Deal–esque vocals too often reach nails-on-chalkboard heights of girlishness. But it’s never long before the four-part harmonizing kicks in and renders any missteps forgivable, even making seedier sentiments (“You said we’d meet outside the liquor store”) or the rare flat-out insult (“Sit down, give up/You suck, you dance bad”) sound like the messages of angels. Even the more indie-generic of these songs—and there do seem to be quite a few on first listen—are too eager and energetic to let you dismiss them completely. Clearly, revenge can be sweet indeed.