There is nothing quite like a good murder ballad. Scarlet Mill has taken this delightful genre of song and turned it into something quite novel with their debut album Chronicles. With their single ’29 Palms’, they delve into the moment when things are getting out of hand in the murder tale merging despair, regret and resignation with love and passion.
Taking listeners to the broody cowboy town of 29 Palms, the track offers the perfect place to hide out if you need a little space while giving into the imagery of the story. This epic tale of murder and the emotions that follow comes from Jennifer Moesker (vocals, piano, synth) and Erik Verhoef (vocals, guitar, bass, drums) with their permanent guest Maarten Verhoef (saxophone). The duo first got together in the 80s before drifting apart for musical adventures with other musicians before coming together again for a tale of murder, redemption and passion.
’29 Palms’ hits you with a dark wash of guitar that brings a Western movie cinematic feeling. There is a desolate darkness to the music that is wonderful as it combines with the tumbleweed feeling of the guitar and higher tones of the synths. Through the melody, the band perfectly sets the scene of the track and draws you into the empty streets of 29 Palms. The shimmering of the synths that stab through the darkness adds dimension and texture to the single. When the saxophone hits, it brings a touch of passion and love to the soundscape. The blending of instrumentation and tones is perfect and grips you from the start of the track to the very end.
As the darkness of the melody tantalises your senses, Verhoef’s vocals slither into your brain with dark tendrils of inky smoothness. His voice is a shadowy whisper of despair and regret that grips your heart. Moesker’s vocals harmonies perfectly on the chorus adding an ethereal and otherworldly edge to the song. The lyrics capture a feeling of despair and resignation over what has happened. Through the chorus, you are drawn into the town and feel that this is the perfect place to lay low while the heat of the murder ballad dies down.
Scarlet Mill use dark whispered vocals and tantalising cinematic melodies to wrap you in the emotions of ’29 Palms’. The single is packed with the darkness of a murder ballad and grips your emotions with a blending of resignation, despair and passion. A single that you can easily listen to again and again, it is also a wonderful hook to get you addicted to their debut album.