One bit of shorthand for NY “punk” trio Palberta is that they recall artists such as Beat Happening (Stereogum’s Gabriela Tully Claymore had this insightful comparison earlier today.) Such a comparison communicates a few things. That the band, even when they get a little squelchy, sounds beautifully wide-eyed. Not in some naive way but in a manner where hope abounds. Where every little second promises something new and exciting. Each recitation of “she feels that way” over a dinky xylophone is its own world. Their unadorned harmonizing sends a message that feelings matter as much as anything.
Palberta’s ability to adroitly channel such feelings is but one thing they share with bands in the vein of Beat Happening and The Raincoats. The other obvious link is that they’re doing so much with so little. Their vocals, that aforementioned xylophone, what sounds like a distant horn and what could pass for the Wurlitzer sounds from Grouper’s “Alien Observer”, are all that prop up the 41-second track. That’s it. That’s the list. And yet there’s so much more going on than three ladies harmonizing with three instruments. It’s a pocket symphony. Yes anyone could make a brief song with an instrumental triad and throw it up on Soundcloud. But relatively few can make something so frugal sound so rich.
(You can listen to “She Feels That Way” in both vocal and electric versions here now.)