Published Jun 10, 2019Palehound's third full-length album arrives as a triumph for the Boston trio who, of late, have gained ground in the DIY-rock scene. On Black Friday, Ellen Kempner, Larz Brogan and Jesse Weiss have delivered a fully realized, thoughtful body of work without sacrificing any of the grit that made earlier releases so viscerally rugged.
Opening track "Company" is a near-perfect foreword to an understated yet insightful catalogue of tracks focused on human connection. In harnessing the innate power of sensitivity, Palehound illuminate their empathetic approach above everything else. Thematically, this is an apt precursor to an emotionally charged album.
The momentum of standout tracks like "Aaron" (an offering of support for a lover's transition), the title track and "Killer" (a revenge plot to kill a local rapist) are brought to a screeching halt by spoken word intermission "Where We Live," an unnecessary pretence in an otherwise comfortable progression of songs.
Deftly woven percussion and tactile riffs throughout complement Kempner's signature whispered vocals, which seamlessly unfold narratives on the topics of identity, devotion and even retribution.
Following some more serious tracks in the second half of the album, "Stick N Poke" acts as a fun reprieve that repeats on-the-nose choral lyrics, "I think I'm due for a shitty tattoo," rounding out with the realization, "I only have these thoughts when I am missing you."
Serving as an exercise in humility, Black Friday is a testament to the value of tenderness in a world steeped in trepidation. For new listeners, the album should function as a cohesive introduction to a band on the rise — and a great point of entry to an already impressive discography. (Polyvinyl)