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Palberta Share An Uneasy Mantra On “Sick”

Palberta Share An Uneasy Mantra On

There’s a heaving lurch in “Sick,” a symptom of Palberta’s tight austerity, and deconstruction of pop songwriting. Rather than rely on any sort of hook, by most standards, at least, the band utilizes a mantra, repeating a word, phrase, or even inflection, until a few things happen:

1. The mantra is manifested as a sonic force

2. The mantra has lost its semantic quality

3. The mantra’s repetition becomes comfortable, familiar, and reassuring

It may seem strange that a composition as quick and hyper-composed as “Sick”—it boasts a runtime of less than a minute and a half—can prove emblematic of the power of incantation, and yet, that uneasy, hypnotic repetition is the well from which the song draws power. I can almost hear myself joining in the chant, before the vocals break off, and I'm left nodding off to a spindly groove, and a final lithely-picked guitar lick.

Bye Bye Berta is out February 10 on LP via Wharf Cat Records and CS via Ramp Local.

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