KAMIKAZE PALM TREE have been a mystery since they burst onto the scene with their debut album Good Boy back in 2019. With their ambitious sound, the group were unable to be placed in any box. The San Francisco duo – Dylan Hadley and Cole Berliner – have been a band since 2015, and had released two EPs and a live album before their 2019 debut. Now, three years later, they’ve followed up Good Boy with their second album Mint Chip. Consisting of 14 songs, this album is notable because a lot of the tracks are extremely short.
Take the first song for example. Titled Flamingo, it has a runtime of two minutes and ten seconds. However, there is not a second that is wasted. The song itself is a weird collection of sounds, which include the sound of drums and other instruments, including a guitar. The lyrics are mostly repetitive. However, the music is mostly quite charming. In The Sand is an even shorter song at just over a minute. However, it is clear that KAMIKAZE PALM TREE have thrown everything but the kitchen sink in. There is even a kazoo as well as a lot of vocalising. Whilst this might be an amusing song, it is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
In fact, this album is very much like marmite. Some people will love its quirkiness. It is admirable that the band do not want to fit into a single genre, and have therefore created their own genre. However, for other people, the ambiguity of it all will be very annoying. On the other hand, the album is well-produced and the intrigue of the songs does create a nice mix of sounds. There is everything thrown in from a piano on Club Banger to an acoustic guitar on Y So K. Whilst the lyrics are mostly repetitive throughout, the harmonies are very pleasant to listen to. For example, on Y So K, the only instruments are a xylophone and the aforementioned acoustic guitar.
Of course, not all the songs hit the right notes. For example, Cole’s Milk is an irritating short interlude which feels like it goes on for way too long. It is mostly made up of a trumpet that has been mixed with an electronic backing track that feels like it scrapes the inside of your ears. Thankfully, it is only just over a minute long. However, this is an issue with the album. For every great song, there is a not so good song. So whilst the overall pacing of the album is fine, the songs themselves are a bit hit or miss.
In conclusion, if you wanted to unravel the mystery behind KAMIKAZE PALM TREE, then unfortunately this album does not solve it. Whilst some will applaud its creativity and uniqueness, others will roll their eyes and say that it is too ambitious and therefore pleases nobody. This album will definitely polarize people. There are some very unique songs on it, however, there are also other songs that do not hit the target. Mint Chip is not for everyone, but those who give it a chance might find something special.
Mint Chip is set for release on August 12th via Drag City.
Like KAMIKAZE PALM TREE on Facebook.