Monday, November 07, 2016

Album Review :: Palace - So Long Forever


So Long Forever

November 4 2016 (Fiction)


Words: Alison Mack

The debut album from one of London's best exponents of poignant, heart-on-sleeve lyric writing and stirring vocal delivery is as one might expect: full of melodic, often downbeat, intimacy and polished reflection. The songs, that revolve around relationships, the loss of a loved one, bitter regrets, make, if not for a lighthearted listen, certainly one of deeply emotional and personal sentiment.

The air of darkness which hangs over the album is there right from from the pulsing drum beat and guitar that open lead track ‘Break The Silence’, though the track never wallows in the mire as it gambles along on melodic bass as Wyndham sings of "cheated all that’s loved you / broken hearts / you’re rumbled.” 'Bitter', the intriguing, blues-tinged number filled with echoing guitars - and an early Palace introductory track first shown light of day two years ago - is a sublime showcase for Leo Wyndham's voice that is both warming, yet stirring enough to send tingles down the spine with the inflection put on the title word.

“Two or three of the songs were almost predictions,” vocalist and lyricist Wyndham has said. “’So Long Forever’ and ‘Live Well’ are about things that had never happened to me in a relationship but have all kind of come true.” On the former, the rolling guitars move in soaring glitchiness, while the latter resounds on layers of those same intricate guitar notes over a more uptempo melody, with Wyndham’s vocals riding on the ebb and flow of its lines, impart the emotionally wrenched lyrics.

He has spoken of  standout 'Holy Smoke' as "about losing someone close to you, and experiencing something quite spiritual in the moments after death when by their side." As such it adds to the compelling guitar refrain as the vocals slot around the changing drum beat.

'It’s Over' really needs no explanation lyrically, as it dwells in the painful aftermath of a break-up: “Safe to say that love is over / It’s true I know that life goes on and on / The more I’ve seen my foundations bleeding / the weaker I am from my roots to my heart,” Wyndham soulfully declares over and over repeatedly; while ‘Have Faith’ opts for a bouncy beat, though still with that melancholic guitar touch that is so much a trademark of the Palace sound - and which helps to make 'So Long Forever' an atmospherically rich and satisfying work.

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