Spotlight #1: Palace

by Will Cafferky

A note from the Editor: As a magazine that prides itself on promoting new and undiscovered music, that delights its readers with hidden gems each fortnight (see the Listening Post for more details), we thought it was about time that we brought you a fresh new column, revealing a new artist each month to discover for your own listening pleasure.

The brains behind the column is Will Cafferky, a regular PearShaped writer and busy Screen Editor over at Exepose. As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, Will is now going to treat us to an Artist of the Month, each month for the foreseeable future. Here’s the first of many: make yourself a cup of tea, have a read, and enjoy.

It’s arguably increasingly difficult to stand out as a band in what many would interpret as a swamped market. Any releases, or emerging acts, are inevitably compared and contrasted to their contemporaries; a genuinely unique sound is twice as hard to produce, as it is to find. Nonetheless, the quest for severe differentiation isn’t an entirely necessary one. There is just as much enjoyment to be found in an act drawing inspiration from the work of those before and around them in the pursuit of their own sound. This is most certainly the case with Palace.

I’ve been following the progress of Palace since they first released the single, Veins, around three months ago, which was subsequently aired on a variety of radio shows. The band have been drip-feeding releases since then, culminating in the EP, Lost In The Night, around which a definite buzz is starting to build.

Despite having spoken previously about the inevitability of comparison in music reviews, I’m going to go ahead and make one anyway. There’s an element of Fleet Foxes/Grizzly Bear about Palace. Whilst there’s less vocal harmony and more twanging of guitars, there is a degree of similarity in the way in which their tracks flow and the almost calculated nonchalance of the delivery.

I previously mentioned the enjoyment to be found in hearing a band draw inspiration from the music around them, and in that sense there is a warm familiarity to be found in Palace’s work. The band themselves have cited White Denim and Scoundrels as notable influences on their sound, the latter of which is particularly noticeable in their more blues-heavy releases. Whilst we’ve so far only been exposed to the five tracks from the EP, it’s enough to suggest that this is a band capable of consistent and thoughtful work.

Other comparisons have been drawn elsewhere; NME notably referred to them as potential successors to The Maccabees. It’s easy to see the similarity between the two, with much of the blues-y or guitar-heavy section segments of their recent EP echoing many of the enjoyable elements found in Given To The Wild. Noticing Palace’s influences and the similarities between themselves and their contemporaries, as I mentioned earlier, is one of the elements that has made listening to their music so enjoyable. However, this is not to say that they lack originality. The vocals are recognisable; the baselines (perhaps most notably in Bitter) are beautifully enticing, and the guitar solos are subtly delightful.

The band itself consists of front-man, Leo Wyndham, Rupert Turner on lead guitar, Matt Hodges on drums, and Will Dory on bass. The group met at school, and according to record label Beatnik, played their second gig supporting James Iha, of Smashing Pumpkins fame. Incidentally, bassist Will also paints the band’s album artwork, an impressive piece of work in its own right, that also fits seamlessly with the groups image and style, being both simultaneously understated and striking.

Be sure to listen to Palace’s EP, Lost In The Night, on the band’s Soundcloud.