The narratives for sophomore albums frequently spend serious time on words like “growth” and “maturity.” But after an album as gleefully brash and juvenile as 180, expecting maturation from Palma Violets would be a tall order. True to their youthful, drunken exuberance, the London lads deliver Danger in the Club, trying to add another wild night to their weekend rather than get ready for the work week. Seeing the Violets try to scrub up in the name of growth would’ve been a risky decision, but instead, Danger suffers the same ills and rides the same highs as 180.
Palma Violets are known for riotous performances, yet their recordings fail to carry that same energy. Watching them, it seems as if anything might happen; on album, that sense of potential chaos fades. Simply put, Danger in the Club doesn’t sound very dangerous. “Gout! Gang! Go!” is a sort of Clash Lite take, and “Hollywood (I Got It)” (with its repeated calls of “fresh fish, I got it!”) is boisterous, but silly. “The Jacket Song” shows a real tenderness, a highlight in its frail honesty.
Much like they did on their debut, Palma Violets load their sophomore album with shout-sing-along hooks. Usually these are none too subtle, preferring the direct hits. “All I felt was pain,” they repeat on the shaded “Matador”. Later, on the boozy and delightfully over-the-top “Coming Over to My Place”, bassist Chilli Jesson and guitarist Sam Fryer topple from one hook to another, eventually landing on an epic sing-along: “I would rather die, I would rather die/ I would rather die than be in love.” The lyrics are blunt but not raw, sung passionately but not out of control.
Danger in the Club sounds tailor-made for groups walking drunkenly together down London streets late at night — something the Violets have certainly done. It doesn’t change the 180 formula or come closer to capturing their live essence. This is a professional album, but the Violets are known as professional rabble-rousers, not professional studio rats.
Essential Tracks: “Coming Over to My Place”, “The Jacket Song”