Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Palace Foreground The Highly Anticipated ‘Ultrasound’ With Single ‘Bleach’

After a packed 2023 of single releases for the indie heavyweights, Palace continue to propel the building anticipation of new album ‘Ultrasound’ into 2024 with new track ‘Bleach’.

The band, now three albums deep with a healthy amount of noteworthy praise received at each, sees itself exploring more angular, driven territories in the lead up to the April 4th ‘Ultrasound’ release.

Since their debut 2016 album, Palace have embodied a truly unique and noteworthy sense of guitar-based indie rock. Theirs is a blissful indie sound woven together by catchy melodies, swirling, reverb-soaked guitar lines, haunting harmonies, and alluring melancholy captured by the tender vocal deliveries of frontman vocalist Leo Wyndham. It's a sound that has garnered them praise as one of the most creative and sonically unique indie rock outfits of the last decade.  

The subject of this review begs the question as to what new sonic territories Palace have delved into. On first listening, you get the impression of that bona fide Palace sound so remembered by ardent fans; ever so slightly driven guitars atop a melancholy melody, all of which is superimposed with hefty doses of reverb. This elevates their tracks into prominently ethereal territories. However, in the case of ‘Bleach’, we see a deliberate simplicity to the track, which places it apart from previous works. A continuous steady drum beat and low-end bass guitar drone forms the track's bedrock, lulling the listener into a kind of hypnotic haze. All the while, understated guitar melodies dance around the low-end drone, often interlaced with overdriven, biting guitar stabs. It’s a world away from the sweeping intricacies of debut album ‘So Long Forever’. This commitment to simplicity allows for the vocal contributions to breathe a little more in the mix.

I have always found myself enamored with Wyndham’s vocal tenderness. Paired together with the dreamscape instrumental arrangements of previous releases (with ‘Live Well’ ‘Blackheath’ and ‘Gravity’ as personal picks to illustrate this point), they accumulate into a spellbinding final concoction. Here though, in ‘Bleach’s sonic arrangements, there’s something of a noticeable dissonance. Wyndham’s vocals, still wistfully tender, appear filtered through a grainy vocal telephone effect - especially in the track’s verses where the vocals are loudest - and immediately offered the impression of a protagonist proclaiming a heartfelt confession through a crackling phone connection. It works well to re-texture Wyndham’s otherwise beautiful vocal efforts into something rougher and grainier. This changes in the chorus, where Wyndham’s vocals soar ever higher, now drenched in a reverb mirrored by the mesmeric, driving instrumental soundscape. It’s a truly wonderful introduction to what can only be described as a noticeable re-textured evolution of the band’s sound in the lead up to the ‘Ultrasound’ release. It's something to only be excited about, so stay attentive. 

Harry Meenagh
Image: ‘Ultrasound’ Official Album Cover

1 comment:

Comment Here;