We get a LOT of emails. Really, I mean a ton. Many of them we do not open. They come with no sentiment or human acknowledgment. The reps for bands are a funny bunch. Unfortunately, music promotion is often a one-way street. Because of this mountain of electronic mail, we are often forced to make quick judgment calls on what to add to our equally as mountainous coverage list and what to politely pass on. As our site has grown, this has become a more arduous task but also extremely rewarding when we find a band like London’s Palace. They are truly one in a sea of many acts that rises to the top and grabs our attention amidst the cold water of administrating a music site.
Palace sounds like a band that has always existed. Beautifully crafted and mature, their debut album So Long Forever (Nov. 4) is sure to ascend them to the status of indie darlings. Fans of Foals and The National will especially appreciate their melancholy and unrushed vibe as well as their existential songwriting, which will stay with you long after the final play. Perhaps it is due to the incredibly vulnerable writing of frontman Leo Wyndham who recorded fresh off the separation of his parents, death of family members, and a bad break up of his own. “We wanted it to be really diverse, lots of ups and downs, massive epic moments then dropping down to intimate moments. I really think we’ve nailed it,” explains drummer Matt Hodges. That dour but strangely hopeful spirit shines through on the LP, which was recorded in an old munitions factory in Tottenham.
While the whole album is incredible and is a strong contender for our year-end top ten albums list, the band has released three songs to give a glimpse into the form of the LP. “Break the Silence” begins the album and is carried with a haunting guitar before launching into something of a plea for open communication. This is a band in the truest sense. Each instrument is there for a reason and contributes to the wall of sound they produce. No one outshines anyone else but beautifully crafts an echo of a jam. Again, they show incredible maturity for a younger act.
“Holy Smoke” plays out like a prayer unleashed on a road trip to nowhere special. “If there is a God, how could he mold, a life so cruel yet so bold?” Wyndham asks. One of the strengths of the band is how they ask these theological questions and put music to the musings. They use religious imagery throughout the album, but here it is the strongest. The video is rather gorgeous as well.
“Have Faith” is a little more upbeat but equally as poignant. A song about a broken humanity looking for bravery, this tune has some of the best songwriting on the album. It builds an atmosphere that is nothing short of incredible and is sure to make you feel something as it walks the line between hope and despair. This is where the band makes their home so brilliantly.
Bands like Palace make what we do worth it. Creative, artful, and disciplined, they are sure to make a mark on 2017 with So Long Forever. This is the band you need to hear now before your friends tell you about them later.