Palo Alto
Songs from the Numb Mob [CS; Self-Released]

The maddening mob of 50s style clashing with 60s panache; it was the scene in and around the Bay Area during the height of peace, love, and psychedelia. People still caught in the bubble and those whose bubbles long popped. Runaways and cult leaders colliding on street corners, and a rather maudlin music was its background. It painted itself in hypercolors and rebellious lust, but it was quite a murderous, panic-stricken mania that paralyzed as much as it incited. This is all to say that, despite being 50 years, a 3k land mass, and an expansive ocean away from it, the group known as Palo Alto have seemingly captured the paranoid, desperate clawing of Northern California in the mid-to-late 60s. Songs for the Numb Mob is as appropriate a filigree to that era as I’ve seen. The experimental drones of Palo Alto tug and pull at the delicate fabric of reality. It stretches to opaque, and you can see all the fault lines and sharp fangs of an era still romanticized. We’ve glossed over Manson, Altamont, Kent State, Nixon, and even the fallout as it spilled into the excess and depravity of the 70s and 80s. Oh, we had a societal reset where the moral majority tried to shock the system back to those halcyon days of the 50s, but we’re running away from it all over again. Songs for the Numb Mob forces you to sit tight, eyes splayed open, asses affixed to seat as attention is forced to the cyclical, historical screen. How little peace and love truly meant, other than a fashion statement and some drug-induced escape from the black-and-white harshness of reality. I keep reading pieces of why we should give pop a chance, why consumerism is the wave of the future, and how we have more control than ever. No, we’re right back to that lonesome street corner where two streets with more meaning as a symbol than for the service they provide. We haven’t learned, but Palo Alto have given us something that isn’t a pill, a capsule, a sheet, or rolled in paper. This isn’t a drug to escape, but rather the smashing of our rose-tinted glasses. And Palo Alto do it in such a captivating, yet gentle way. It’s a quick slap to the face, and then a lengthy caress of our mane so that we pay attention and then feel what we’re supposed to feel.


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