I love 2020. No, really — though to be clear I don’t mean in a political, interpersonal, or general sense; only in a musical one. Only in 2020 would someone have to audacity to refer to themselves as “introspective indie punk” in their Bandcamp bio.
Genre, like the concept of hugging your loved ones, is a thing of the past. I love this. Nothing matters. Seduce a tree. Make shoegaze hyperpop. Do what you want.
Oakland’s Plush Palace, the writers of said Bandcamp bio, really did the damn thing — the introspective, the indie, the punk — with their new, self-titled EP. They also seem to be one of the many bands forged in the fires of quarantine, as indicated by this additional bio note: “Shows? We’ll see.” The EP is delivered with a dash of self-effacement; I don’t particularly blame them, as being delighted with your own vulnerability on the Internet takes a certain kind of person. Regardless, lead singer Diz seems to be gifting us with this introspective indie punk content on the tail end of an acrimonious, or at the very least somewhat unexpected, divorce. And they don’t care who knows.
Surely you know what they say: many a truth is said in jest, and if there is ever a better example of this than track one, “First Date,” I would love for you to show it to me. Sort of the antithesis to the Blink-182 song of the same name, this first date, perhaps unlike those in vocalist Diz’s recent experience, actually made me laugh out loud (or “lol” if you will… please ignore me). “Everyone hates/first dates!” Diz cries in the chorus. “I want to die!” How succinct. How evocative. Whoever invented haikus had it right all along: less is indeed sometimes more.
Jokes aside, the whole chorus – indeed the whole song – is delivered with such semi-hysterical abandon that if the lyrics had been any more complex, it just wouldn’t have been so goddamn fun.
The rest of the EP touches on some classic Bay Area themes, most notably performative activism on “Fake Fucking Liar.” The song is clearly about some kind of paternalistic figure: “Thank god you’re who I have to trust/because I just/can’t make my own mind up!” The pissed-off chorus is classic ’90s riot grrrl, but not in a pastiche way; it’s pretty effective at getting the core message of the song across: “In order to be a real ally/you have to give up your share of the lie.” Taken together, these lines exemplify Plush Palace’s strength: fury with a dash of perceptive humor.
The other two tracks on the EP are a little more structurally loose. “Stairs” manages to achieve the circular feeling of being stuck in a depressive episode, or the like, with repetitive verses and a somewhat unexpected lyrical outro. “Cluelessness,” however, returns more explicitly to the divorce — “now I’m stuck here/standing in front of a jury” — to great effect. Though not as catchy as some of the first two songs, it ends on a a fuzzy guitar riff that solidifies — and there’s no “we’ll see” about it — that Plush Palace has the musical chops to back up the bravado.
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