After nearly seven years of performing together, rock trio Palberta has consistently developed their sound with each record. On their most recent addition, “Palberta5000” the rock group takes on the trappings of pop punk. Following the success of 2018’s “Roach Going Down,” which set up many of the artistic directions heard on “Palberta5000,” this could act as the new sound for the band.

And that sound is anything but ordinary. Formed in New York, Palberta’s past albums were greatly influenced by the noise rock scene of the 1980’s. Noise rock, which is characterized by heavy distortion and atonality, was itself inspired by the no wave movement of the 70s that aimed to create music that was so experimental it would be unmarketable, and thus able to act as pure artistic expression. Hints of this heritage make their way onto “Palberta5000.” “All Over My Face” features a nearly two-minute long instrumental break, “Eggs n’ Bac’” is a wacky, frenetic song, and “I’m Z’done” is a little 18-second ditty.

That brevity is a central characteristic of the record: only four songs on the 16-track album are over three minutes, allowing the band to transition quickly between musical ideas. Furthermore, the progression of each song creates a unity to the album, which is short enough to sound like one long piece. Another factor that contributes to this is the repetitive nature of the lyrics. Almost every track features some line or set of lines that is sung over and over in a nearly identical cadence. “Big Bad Want” for example, repeats the line “Yeah I can’t pretend what I want” over 50 times throughout the course of the song.

The entire album has a homemade, lo-fi feel to it. The vocals, though sometimes soft and warm, are just as often jarring and discordant. And like the more mainstream chill lo-fi, the breathy chants almost lull you to sleep with each repetition, helped along by the looping instrumental patterns. These phrases even made their way into my subconscious, replaying over and over at random moments. Granted, I’ve listened to this album several times, so perhaps the sound has just grown on me.

At first glance, though, a listener may be understandably skeptical: is this worthwhile art or just lazy writing? Judging from my time with the music, I would learn toward art—performance art specifically. The noise rock scene that Palberta was borne out of emphasized the experiential nature of music. I can easily imagine how fun it would be to perform or hear any of these songs live. Obviously not everyone has that relationship to music, but even still “Palberta5000” is sure to have at least one song that you can get behind.


Favorite Tracks: Red Antz, The Way That You Do, Big Bad Want

Noah Haynes