Sweaty Palms @Stereo // 13.05.22

You’ll never think about a can of Lynx Africa the same again and that’s alright.

Sweaty Palms are the avant guard racketeers hailing from Glasgow’s Southside, that want you to stop in your tracks and reconsider your capitalistic ideals. They want you to howl into the abyss and confront society’s demons. But if your not quite there yet, then their music will drag you there kicking and screaming (whelps of pleasure of course, rather than disdain).

Since 2014 the band have garnered a steady following of dedicated fans, their 2018 debut album ‘Quit Now’ received critical acclaim which generated packed out crowds at shows where ever they went.

Now after a two year reprieve the band assembled with new members (Doss on bass) are back with fresh material with its own distinctive sound.

Tonight’s show as part of Pop Mutations see’s Sweaty Palms take the stage with friends that include; Laura St Jude, I Solar and Comfort as well as DJ’s and immersive visuals by Lizzie Urquhart and Time Tunnel. The show feels almost like a home coming – with friends old and new converging on the basement of Stereo for what is undoubtably one of the most unabashed shows of the year.

Opening with the pounding behemoth that is last years ‘Nice to be Nice’ single, instantly galvanises the crowd into head bopping action, there’s even a small mosh pit that ensues.

The track is a swarthy four and a half minute tirade of irate satire on the folly of being overly compassionate or well mannered and being taken advantage of. Which descends into weaponising a can of Lynx deodorant.

It’s an outstanding grungy wall of noise, that delivers a spoken word molotov cocktail, nuancing Glaswegian patter and commonalities that is both easily relatable and agreeably frustrating. At times Robbie Houston’s vocal delivery is reminiscent of Mark E Smith or Aidan Moffat yet, is distinctly itself too.

The band are daubed in green and blue tones from the visual projections which manifests an air of performative art, but also meant that Doss has to peek out, every now and then from behind a tarpaulin screen, while scudding the bass and the drummer is completely obscured for the entirety of the show.

Up next is ‘The Dance’ is a beguiling graveyard stomp that feels like Iain Curtis is having a Halloween tea party with Lux Interior, grinding baselines and irreverent guitar riffs abound.

The band play a super tight set exclusively playing new material that they have been steadily realising track by track each month since last summer. A bold move that ultimately pays off, stand out tracks include; ‘Vaseline’, and ‘FOMO’ and ‘Til The Walls Are Undone’ which offers a slower tempo reprieve from the frenetic former efforts.

After a very short interlude the audience have demanded an encore. Which the band happily provide in the form of ‘Imagination’ which encapsulates what Sweaty Palms do best – glitchy synths, loud oscillating bass and guitar combos and a guttural wail of a chorus ‘they probe my soul and suckle my thoughts’ now I f that’s not a manifesto, I don’t know what is.

Make moves and check out these purveyors of socialist goth, synth punk anarchy before it’s too late.

Pictures: Rosie Sco

Words: Ang Can

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