The band cites Neil Young and Built to Spill as their influences – and yes, you can certainly hear those influences in the ten tracks of this EP. But there are also other references: the pumping, frantic bass and drums in “Control” and it’s hacked off chorus by Matthias are clearly a nod to Joy Division and their hit “She Lost Control”; you can hear that Matthias has also oftentimes listened to Paul Banks and Interpol when he repeatedly sings “Evacuate and take control before it’s too late” (in “Evacuate”). Of course, as Interpol and Banks also were credited for transporting Joy Division into the 21st century, one can argue that this is a reference to the same thing basically.
Nevertheless, it becomes clear that Palila has gone through a kind of transition between the first EP and this collection, because “Are we Happy Now?” is surely more post-punk while the new tracks are more on an indie-rock basis. Maybe this also has to do with Jonas Czok taking over the seat behind the drums? However, the drums on the first four tracks are less frantic and pumping and more open to drive the song via use of the hi-hats, using the toms less than before. The songs and Matthias’ vocals are also changed, as there are now less Ian Curtis-depression-moments in his singing and sometimes even something like an Elton-John-phrasing or two. Generally, his phrasing is awesome as he performs differently on each track and thus gives them a whole new attitude and identity. There is always a bit of Neil Young, but as the songs became more vivid, his vocals also became more variable. This evolution is a good indicator for what is to come from Camp Palila. This also is noticeable when listening to the variability of the guitar lines on the new tracks. They are rocking much more straightforward and dominate the songs even a bit – but in a totally positive way.
This EP is a perfect way of discovering not only a good new band but also their development and gives a hint at what might follow next. Palila, from Hamburg is worth more than just one short listen.