NAIMA BOCK – ” Giant Palm “

Posted: July 1, 2022 in MUSIC

The roots of Naima Bock’s music are far reaching. Born in Glastonbury to a Brazilian father and a Greek mother, Naima spent her early childhood in Brazil before eventually returning to England and various homes in South-East London. This heritage combines with more recent pursuits in Naima’s music; from the Brazilian standards that the family would listen to driving to the beach, to the European folk traditions she tapped into on her own, and the pursuits that interest her today – studies in archaeology, work as a gardener, and walking the world’s great trails – Naima’s music draws from family, the earth and the handing down of music through generations.

Naima Bock’s debut is a real gem — the kind of album that sneaks up on you, one that for some reason I can’t stop returning to. “Giant Palm” makes me feel like I’m floating on a cloud. It is preternaturally calm; it’s subtle and enveloping and moves in unhurried, erosive waves. It’s not the type of music that one would expect from a former member of Goat Girl — the anxious, political, idiosyncratic punk group that Bock spent six years in — but perhaps it’s the kind of music that one needs after saying everything that needs to be said. Bock started working on music of her own as a way to escape the sort of always-analytical music that being in a punk band entails.

Bock recorded Giant Palm with close collaborator Joel Burton in the studio of Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey. (Carey produced both of Goat Girl’s albums while Bock was in the band.) It’s funny to imagine such chill music being made in a space that has turned out some of the most frenetic, energetic music of the UK’s post-punk wave.

But Giant Palm‘s recording process turned into something of a community. Because so many were floating around due to pandemic lockdowns, upwards of 30 musicians played on the album. It benefits from having so many people in and around it — it makes these solitary songs sound communal. And while the album feels shaggy and loose, “Giant Palm” has been laid down elegantly and precisely; its most striking moments are also its most composed — movements of swelling harmonies and horn trills and lifting atmosphere where the full surge of what Bock is doing with all of these slowly moving parts take hold.

Written over the space of years, each of Naima’s songs represents a snapshot of a specific feeling, of brief moments in Naima’s life that make up a larger whole. “I never change lyrics” she says, “even if I don’t relate to them anymore, I related to them once which means someone else could, somewhere”. Whether that’s in the playful humour of ‘Campervan’, the peaceful exhale of ‘Giant Palm’ or in the darker moments like in the stark, self-critical honesty of ‘Every Morning’, whatever the form it’s always laid bare.
There’s also a feeling of clarity to the songs, which Naima largely credits to the fact that many of them were written while walking. She finds inspiration in the meditative and revealing nature of long walks with a fixed but far-off destination.

“There’s a stripping away that takes place”, she says, the slowing of thoughts by the rhythm of walking is often to thank for the sharp focus of her lyrics. Be that during a period of three years where she would return to Spanish pilgrimage network Camino de Santiago for weeks at a time, or simple hours spent in the English countryside. 

released July 1st, 2022

© 2022 Sub Pop Records

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