Copenhagen-based Australian singer-songwriter, Carl Coleman, and Danish producer, Caspar Hesselager’s project, Palace Winter, mixes the tenacious energy one would expect from a rock group with smooth chords, moving the listener along. Comparable to Kurt Vile’s The War on Drugs, Palace Winter is poised to take the leap into becoming a full-fledged stadium rock group. Their upcoming album, “Nowadays,” available on 4 May, which promises to encompass the human condition, includes previously released tracks Take Shelter and Empire. If Palace Winter’s recent live performance is anything to go by, the group possesses lyrical depth and masterfully combines climbing melodies with soft pauses. Take Shelter, found in the video above, is an epic, choral ballad about confronting grief and coping with loss. This mood sets the theme for the entirety of “Nowadays,” and sums up Palace Winter’s brooding atmosphere.
The second single (off “Nowadays”) to be released, Empire, premiered on Culture Collide in March. It’s a tad more uplifting than Take Shelter and pays homage to 80’s synth-rock. “Empire,” the second single from their forthcoming album, is an enchanting cut of Northern sorcery. Icy synths propel the track forward above a textural rhythm of strummed guitars and electronic drums, while dramatic string accents rise like fjords from the frozen sea. Coleman’s lyrics explore themes of escapism and withdrawal, the airy, layered sound conjuring image of 80s new wave groups like Tears for Fears or Soft Cell. The guitar work is a real treat here, bringing to mind the spellbinding sounds of the late-great John McGeoch (Siouxsie and the Banshees, Magazine, Public Image Ltd., etc.) in the way the bright, plucked notes gently dance around the synth melodies. This is that real kind of mystical retro dark-pop, and I can’t get enough of it.”
Between these two tracks, Nowadays promises to be a journey. Listen to Empire below, followed by photos from a recent live performance.