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Best Thing I’ve Heard Recently: Palmyra Delran’s ‘You Are What You Absorb’

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Photo: Albie Mitchell

By Larry Jaffee

When I heard the first notes of Palmyra Delran’s great new album You Are What You Absorb I immediately had a flashback to my initial listening experience in 1976 of Blondie’s debut LP (Private Stock). Both feature a Farfisa organ line that immediately grabbed me, echoing the great pop music of the 1960s.

The Blondie connection hit home even more when I spotted the glorious Debbie Harry in the audience of Delran’s showcase 5/31 gig at The Cutting Room, the hot new Manhattan club. Rooted in Riot Grrl (she was lead guitarist in the fondly remembered all-girl The Friggs), Delran’s the complete package, playing a mean guitar and a voice that alternates between sweet and a Joan Jett snarl singing lyrics about the early butterfly stage in all boy-girl romantic relationships, supplemented by a tight band that rocks out with the best of them.

The aptly titled You Are What You Absorb is sprinkled with British Invasion riffs.

To wit, “You’re My Brian Jones” on the new CD lovingly cops the opening Dave Davies riff from The Kinks’ “She’s Got Everything.” (I also hear Yardbirds licks in her sound.) It’s no wonder that a few Palmyra tracks have been Little Steven’s Underground Garage as “Coolest Songs of the Week.”

Also check out “Love Has Gone Away” from her 2008 EP She Digs The Ride.

Fresh from a two-week tour in Sweden, the live show featured three of the crack male musicians who also play on the album (guitarist Richard Devgreene, bassist Michael Lynch and drummer Mark Brotter). My only regret was not hearing Rachelle Garnier’s Hammond B3, which is prevalent throughout the record.

As aforementioned, Palmyra runs in cool circles. She dedicated a song from the stage to audience member Handsome Dick Manitoba, of the legendary 1970s prototype punk/metal band The Dictators.

To my ears, Delran’s killer must-hear song from the new album is “Never To Be Back Again.” In a perfect world, this song will top the charts and be played on every radio station. But unfortunately, we’re relegated to peeps-in-the-know who check what’s cool on Little Steven’s weekly syndicated show.

You Are What You Absorb is one of my favorite releases of the first half of 2013; buy this highly recommended CD.

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