Palace – So Long Forever

The rich and sultry sound of Palace has earned them well-deserved recognition in their short life as a band. The friends, consisting of Leo Wyndham (vocals, guitar), Rupert Turner (guitar), Will Dory (bass) and Matt Hodges (drums), have certainly taken their time in producing their first album, and their reasoning for this clearly comes in the form of perfectionism.

The London born lads had only one live show under their belt when they began to be whispered about in excitable tones. Their first EP, Chase the Light, released in 2014, lead to Radio One airplay and supporting Jamie T. All of this was rather impressive for a band with such a small back catalogue with their well anticipated début album So Long Forever begin released this November. Everything this band has released so far has been refreshingly bluesy, drenched in heartfelt sorrow and full of promise.

So Long Forever opens with lead track ‘Break the Silence’. Premiered on Annie Mac’s show for Radio One on the 26th of May, this single is already a favourite on many indie playlists all over the world. Palace have the ability to create inoffensive soft rock that’s easy on the senses but still overwhelmingly unique. ‘Break the Silence’ is a perfect example of this, a traditionally indie hook with a perfect soft percussion and fret-bending riffs. ‘Break the Silence’ gets the album off to an exciting start and is certainly one of the bands strongest pieces.

With the second track, the boys have done well choosing ‘Bitter’. It lifts the beat of the album a few notches, with less delicate undertones than its opening counterpart. ‘Bitter’ does well to compliment Wyndham’s vocals with warm, bluesy guitar riffs. The deep reassuring reverb brings the listener to a comfortable embrace with that classic Palace sound while creating a foot-tapping hook.

‘Live Well’ continues a playful and mischievous atmosphere with intricate, layered guitars over a chirpy, slightly more fast paced melody, unlike Palace’s usual lullaby-esque sound. Wyndham’s vocals swell in and out of a gorgeously lavish riff. Longing lyrics maintain the sorrowful theme that stains everything that Palace produce, but work gracefully with the tempo of the song. It appears that even when Palace put together a song that has your head bopping a little faster, they still know exactly how to pull at your heartstrings and ‘Live Well’ is a perfect example of this and definitely a favourite on the album.

‘Family’ sits right at the peak of So Long Forever’s melancholic journey and serves as an intermission. An elegant and dainty riff rests gently behind Wyndham’s vocals. This track definitely serves as a platform for Wyndham to fully showcase his mesmerising vocal range and tone. The track is wistful, technically impressive and teases your soul with a dreamy caress.

‘Have Faith’ was the second song previewed from Palace’s début album and is another example of the group’s ability to mix melancholy with the ingredients of a classic indie anthem. The track is distinct, rich and undeniably memorable.

The penultimate track on the album, ‘Holy Smoke’, perfectly simmers down the energetic atmosphere left behind with ‘Have Faith’ and surrounding tracks. It feels as though Palace have really thought about the emotive journey that So Long Forever can offer, and while it peaks at track number 7, it equally troughs towards the end. ‘Holy Smoke’ is an incredible ode to the band’s potential to be diverse. Leo’s vocals weave in between an ever-changing drum beat and gentle, pulsating riffs. What is particularly special about this track is the band’s stunning songwriting and lyrical ability. Amongst the rest of So Long Forever, ‘Holy Smoke’ is an enchauting example of Palace’s ability to create catchy indie riffs while maintaining their haunting, unique and encapsulating sound which is always current, whatever they produce.

Palace have done well to create an album that beautifully combines their original, more angsty sound with impressive development and experimentation. So Long Forever takes the listener on an emotive voyage that reflects Palace’s journey as a group, from friends to a fully functioning, promising and fantastic band.
Sian Blewitt

Read our recent New Music Q&A with Palace HERE.

Palace come to Brighton on 21 November to play Patterns – get your ticket HERE.