In 2009 Like Bells released their debut LP (Like Bells), an ambitious and meticulously executed work that showcased the young band's ability to create melodic, dramatic, and primarily instrumental pieces. Rated "very impressive" by the music blog Coke Machine Glow, Like Bells was full of lush soundscapes that enabled listeners to project their own feelings and interpretations onto the music.
On their second album, Palma, Like Bells continue to deliver emotive and engaging songs, but from the opening notes of "The Gentle Light" the growth and maturity the band has undergone is palpable. Garrett Openshaw's violin alternately wavers gently, adds atmosphere, and drives the direction of the songs and melodies. Gabe Baker's guitar work, at times delicate and at times full of fire, intertwines with intricate and inventive drumming from Will Mason.
But perhaps most significant to the evolution of Like Bells is the prominent role vocals and lyrics play on this record, adding a new dimension to the band's complex, melody-driven music. Thematically, Palma deals with loss and rediscovery. The songs themselves often reflect this: first presenting material, then diverging from it, morphing it, and reintroducing it again. This idea is reflected in many of Openshaw's lyrics, such as:
"When I look towards home there's salt in my eyes/
at the bay where we prayed that we'd wash away and then reappear."