MusicRecord Reviews

Palace Doctor: Mangled Review

(Laser Brains) The debut album from former Modern Skirts bassist Phillip Brantley’s project with Velveteen Pink bassist Nick Robbins and in-demand drummer Jeremy Wheatley is a twangy, overdriven affair that pulls inspiration from a wide array of influences. Though Brantley has kicked around with a few projects as a backing man since the Skirts’ dissolution, Palace Doctor serves as an outlet for the longtime Athenian’s songwriting, with Mangled a 10-song airing of romantic grievances.

Mangled opens with arguably its strongest track, “Don’t Want to Be Like You,” a breakup burner that channels all its bitterness into one hell of a well-oiled machine. Among the lead riff’s powerful simplicity, Wheatley’s punchy rhythm and Robbins’ complementary lines, the trio displays a lock-step chemistry crucial to the song’s excellence.

The middle section of the album treads in fairly familiar mid-tempo rock, cycling through grunge, psychedelic and garage tones without a whole lot of differentiation or standout material. The last string of songs, however, offer plenty of vindication, with a final burst of energy and a pretty epic outro on “Not an Addict.”