Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Palace – Someday, Somewhere: Review

London-based trio Palace have shared a new EP; “Someday, Somewhere” as a follow-up to their full-length sophomore album “Life After” from 2019. Staying true to their melancholy indie roots, the band find space to refine the sound fans have come to expect, but don’t progress much beyond that.

The record consists of just three tracks, with the eponymous opener and second track “I’ll Be Fine” having been released as a single back in September, the former being the B-Side. The opening track is a soft, acoustic driven number with the now-customary clean lead guitar chops creating a dreamy, ethereal feel as frontman Leo Wyndham croons about memories of a past lover. The bass plods along with on-the-beat root notes keeping everything in check, featuring plenty of rumbling low-end giving a great weight to the track, as the vocals and lead guitar float around the high-mid. 

The production through this whole record, in fact, is very satisfying. I was a big fan of the production on the band’s previous work and this is more of the same, with a perfect balance of space and intimacy that compliments the lyrical content as well as the instrumental.

“I’ll Be Fine” opens in a similar way to the first track, with a gently but quickly strummed acoustic guitar featuring yet more powerful bass and lead guitar drenched in reverb. As they start, the opening two tracks are a little too similar in my opinion. Indeed, I often find myself feeling like this around Palace. I really enjoy the sound of their music, and they have some truly excellent songs, but I regularly find myself struggling to tell their songs apart, and some songs feel a little half-hearted or unfinished. 

Thankfully, as “I’ll Be Fine” progresses, it diverts away from the sound of the opening track, with it becoming a slow burner that builds in tension and adds layer after layer of extra instrumentation. Wyndham’s strained vocals from the beginning of the track grow in conviction and power and he comes down in his register to deliver them, as a dark piano is introduced as well as extra chorus-covered lead guitar tracks, filling out the space in the mix wonderfully. There is so much shine and shimmer in the sound, it really captivates the listener. The rising feel to the song doesn’t quite reach any kind of meaningful crescendo, but that suits the band perfectly, returning to the tender, strained sound of the opening verse to close out the song.

The EP closes with “Flesh to the Fallen”, a more electric-guitar driven and rhythmic indie tune that reflects the sound of their biggest hits from their albums. The guitar work on this song is absolutely fantastic, Rupert Turner once again pulling out all the stops with his fantastic mix of smooth, spacey playing and choppy, jazzy runs. 

Throughout the whole EP, the drums aren’t left with a huge role to play, but the tapping rims, sizzling rides, bright cymbal crashes and ever-reliable hi-hat touches bring all of the songs together in a way that gives a deep sense of coherence, despite the extremely free instrumentals surrounding them. Again, this sounds a little similar to many other songs the band has released over their 6 year tenure since their first single released so, despite being extremely well-executed, it doesn’t blow me away by any stretch.

As a whole, this is another healthy dose of what Palace does best, and while it does have some of the songwriting issues of their previous work in terms of never really straying from their comfort zone, perhaps taking a leap of faith is a little much to ask from a three-track EP. I would definitely recommend this to pre-existing fans of the band, and would consider it a perfect snapshot of what the band is like, for anyone looking to discover a new emotionally charged indie band.


By Harry Green 


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