As someone who has never been to Vietnam, it’s hard to contest the near ubiquity of second hand life altering experiences the Southeast Asian country can lay claim to. It would seem as though despite the fact the Vietnam War ended well over four decades ago (and the Internet), Southeast Asia is still a far off wonderland of vast mystery and prophecy.
Sure, Vietnam is heavily depicted throughout pop culture as a louche locale of eager, rakish characters (a la Good Morning Vietnam), but “from what I’ve heard,” that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s ample opportunity for veritable inspiration, in a “fly by the seat of my pants in a bona fide South Pacific paradise” sort of way.
Point and case, The Great Palumbo’s latest single, “The Other Me,” a synth-onic (trying out new words here; synth + symphonic) ode to the aforementioned life altering power of learning one’s true mettle. While the song’s inspiration is purportedly through a self-actualizing trip to Vietnam, the song itself has an universal application.
Imagine The Night Game throwing together a feel good anthem, minus the manic energy that is Martin Johnson - “The Other Me” provides warmth and strong sentimentality born out of a time where both were in short supply. There’s an anthemic aspect that provides immediate repeat listening appeal (hard to come by these days) to “The Other Me” as well, with straight ahead, but infectious hooks of calling out to anyone from “across the ocean” and eventually “moving on” right into a tasteful guitar solo. There’s sing along-ability (new word?) on the back end of the tune, to boot.
While it’s not The Killers per se, it’s the sound of a band primed to open for someone of The Killers’ ilk (speak it into existence?). “The Other Me” is a step up into the next echelon of production and presentation for The Great Palumbo relative to Nashville. Where a lot of Nashville’s pop acts begin to lean more heavily into the grimecore scene, and rock bands switch their sounds every other day, The Great Palumbo have oriented themselves onto a path primed to skip the mid-cap rooms and go straight to the topline. “The Other Me” is a solid asset in beginning that journey, and The Great Palumbo strike me as a band primed to rise to the occasion.