So Long Forever is Palace’s eagerly anticipated debut album. The group have been releasing singles and EPs from 2012, turning heads and building up a loyal fan base. Wah-wah guitars compliment frontman Wyndam’s distinctive woozy voice, delivering emotionally charged, repetitive lyrics. Track one, Breaking the Silence sets the scene of the subdued frustration to follow. Only one out of eleven of the tracks, Bitter, has featured previously on an EP, with the rest being completely new material, and it is clear the band have been highly selective, with each track developing the narrative of loss and ultimately letting go. “I’ve played heart-strings before, but not in your key” croons Wyndham. Bitter has been reworked, produced and re-recorded, which is guaranteed to upset fans of the original, but means it fits consistently and seamlessly into the album. It’s Over is a clear highlight, with rhythmic guitars and percussion building to a cathartic, somewhat optimistic crescendo; riffs and high-pitched lyrics give an impression of the collective’s range, while maintaining the theme that has been so artfully created. Some tracks, like Family, are more bluesy, with reverb and echo creating an almost folky feel. The chilled sound is perhaps a reflection of Palace’s work space. The Arch is a casual studio with local bands and Horus Records coming together to keep rent low and workspace available at all times. “The future is bright if we can ebb with the flow” Wyndham sings on Live Well, a philosophy that seems to be serving the group just fine.
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