Shoals: diving into new depths

Having big shoes to fill following the success of their sophomore album After Life and its critically acclaimed lead single ‘Heaven Up There’, London based indie-rock band Palace continues to deliver with new depth. With their quintessentially British-alternative sound, Palace released their third album, Shoals, on the 22nd of January. Like the rest of the world when faced with the deeply isolating and uncertain times of the pandemic, the band too was forced to look within themselves for inspiration. This resulted in a profoundly pensive record tackling a three-piece arc detailing the subconscious, existentialism and dreams.
Drenched in reverb, soft drums, mesmerising guitar solos and frontman Leo Wyndham’s airy vocals, Palace has a talent for transporting their listeners to a dimension of their careful weaving. The opening track, ‘Never Said It Was Easy’, begins with a chorus fading in and questioning whether our future selves will still be plagued by the worries of the past. Similarly, ‘Fade’ links mind to the body, pairing paranoia with an upbeat tempo comparable to the fluctuations of our turbulent subconsciouses. The lead single ‘Gravity’ released in mid-2021 sets the tone for the rest of the album. It lets listeners know that, in the end, they do not really matter and ‘are just air in the water’, in an attempt to curb the existential worries depicted in the tracklist initially. In contrast, the closing title, ‘Where Sky Becomes Sea’, has a lulling tune. It offers a narrative that helps one make peace with unpredictability through posthumous dreams.
Shoals as an album symbolises how multi-layered and contradictory the human mind can be. As Shoals illustrates, the brain is beautifully complicated with new depths yet to be realised. This is perfectly depicted by the album artwork, a commissioned painting by a close friend of the band’s Bill Wilby.

Amarraah Ahmad

Amarraah is the News Editor & Director of Creative at BRACU Express. She is a senior majoring in Anthropology at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences at BRAC University. Incredibly detail-oriented and critical, Amarraah maintains highly curated Spotify playlists for every situation under the sun. With a keen eye for anything creative, you'll find Amarraah either picking away at her sketchbook or behind a camera taking photos of anything that catches her eye. Reach her at amarraah.ahmad@g.bracu.ac.bd.

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