Ben Talks About How Much He Loves Palace For A Bit
Ok. Let me get my biases out of the way quickly. I love Palace. From the release of 'Bitter' some six years ago, this London trio have spent their time constructing some of the most beautifully heartfelt songwriting of the past decade, and their run of consistently wonderful music-making is continuing at a rate that has done nothing but bring me joy for the past few years.
After placing 2016's So Long Forever at #59 on our list of the Top 100 Albums of the 2010s, and naming last year's follow-up LP Life After as one of our favourite records of 2019, it should be unsurprising that Palace's upcoming EP has us here at SMPM frothing at the mouth. First releasing the wonderful 'Someday, Somewhere' back in July, now one of the bands closest to my heart has graced the world with one of our favourite songs of the year in 'I'll Be Fine'.
I've been adamant for years that Leo Wyndham is a particularly underrated songwriter in this country, and the lyricism of 'I'll Be Fine' only adds to my determination to see Palace get the credit they deserve. Listening to the soft delivery of
"Faces the ghost that picks the brain apart,
Undoes the weave that tapestries my heart.
Complicated kid - I knew I would be
From when I had curls and youth inside of me."
is just wonderful, but with the introduction of particularly prominent acoustic guitar performances from Palace's two latest releases, the band has unlocked a new capacity for their songs to (somehow) become even more endearing and intimate than they already were.
Stitched together with the group's trademark shimmery electric guitar tones, the soft strumming that forms the foundation of this single is all the more astonishing in just how perfectly it suits this group's style. For a soft-indie-folk-rock fusion of a band, it's quite funny how I've always heard acoustic guitars in their music, even when they haven't been there. I suppose I've always assumed subconsciously that in the wonderfully resonant rhythm-switched guitar sounds that populate Palace's songs there must have been an acoustic guitar in there somewhere, but no, with the exception of a surprisingly short list of songs across their catalogue, the deep wooden tones of 'I'll Be Fine' and 'Someday, Somewhere' are somehow both totally in-keeping with this group's style, while also introducing a new sound for the group to extract lovely noises from.
The song, like many of Palace's best, manages to evoke this whole universe of emotions, combining with perfectly reserved drum performances and gorgeous bass lines, with the subtle inclusion of a piano filling the spaces between. I love where this track goes at [3:08] with the introduction of these heavenly guitar runs and a drum groove that rides the song out in perfect fashion, and all I have left to say is that I really am astonished to say that I am still honestly yet to hear a Palace song that I didn't love. Listen to 'I'll Be Fine' today.
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Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fleet Foxes shill.
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