Palace at EartH 23.02.24 review

Palace at EartH 23.02.24 review

Ultrasound’, the highly anticipated fourth album from London-born indie rock group Palace is set to release on the 5th of April this year, after the release of two small EPs across 2023 – Part I: When Everything Was Lost and Part II: Nightmares and Ice Cream. The full record contains all 7 tracks from both EPs, as well as 5 other tracks including their new single ‘Bleach’. I was lucky enough to attend their exclusive show at a sold-out EartH Hackney last weekend, where they livestreamed playing ‘Ultrasound’ in full, debuting a host of new tracks as well as performing some fan-favourites to close out the evening. It was an unbelievably special experience.

As soon as I entered the historic venue, I was blown away – the huge theatre stage was set up with the bands’ gear, encircled by spotlights, almost looking like a set for a music video. There was also spaces setup for a string quartet which excited me greatly, as much of Palace’s beautiful music contains string parts that I’ve always wanted to see performed live with the band, after following them for a number of years now. After setting up the livestream gear and cameras, the band finally emerged onto the stage, immediately kicking off the album playthrough with one of my favourite Palace tracks, ‘When Everything Was Lost’, following up with the brand-new track ‘Son’ – a soft, atmospheric track that slotted in perfectly after the opener.

From there came their newest single ‘Bleach’, a stunning romantic track that translated perfectly into the live setting, making me well up at a few particularly pretty moments, then 4 more previously released tracks from last year’s EPs, ending out the first half of the record with the intimate ‘Inside My Chest’. Then came three brand new tracks, starting with the beautifully sentimental ‘Love Is a Precious Thing’, a quintessentially Palace song filled with wonderful melodies and gorgeous harmonies, which then faded straight away into the ambient interlude ‘Cocoon’, in which the band member crouched down to tinker with their pedalboards. The result was an exquisite cacophony of swirling sounds which completely took me off guard – feeling almost like a religious experience – eventually fading out, leaving just the subtle sounds of the string quartet who had the whole room in the palms of their hands.

Say The Words’ came next – another brilliant brand-new track – then the final two tracks from the Part I EP – ‘How Far We’ve Come’ and ‘All We’ve Ever Wanted’, the track that started off this whole album cycle – and then the closer ‘Goodnight, Farewell’, which was truly something else. Throughout the slow, emotional song, I was continuously blown away by the lush soundscape Palace created, and as the track – and record – came to a close, the band themselves dropped out, once again leaving just the live string quartet to take us home, eventually landing on a beautiful cadence and prompting a full standing ovation from the EartH crowd. It was such a special moment, being surrounded by a huge room full of fellow Palace fans that had all just experienced an unbelievable hour of music.

To close out the monumental evening, Palace played 5 older tracks, making the most of the available string quartet with the fan-favourite ‘Heaven Up There’ and – a surprise to me and another of my favourite Palace songs – ‘Bones’ from 2019’s ‘Life After’, as well as the beautiful ‘When Sky Becomes Sea’ from ‘Shoals’. Lastly, Palace took us back to their first record ‘So Long Forever’ with probably their 2 most prolific tracks, ‘Bitter’ and ‘Live Well’ – the latter closed out the show, accompanied by the collective voices of the whole theatre, singing every word at the top of their lungs. The show was an absolutely amazing experience, and, doubling as my first time seeing Palace too, has been burned into my memory forever. I feel truly lucky to have been a part of it in any capacity, and I can’t wait to hear ‘Ultrasound’ again soon.

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