With the release of 2018’s sophomore album Nowadays, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based pop duo and JOVM mainstays Palace Winter — Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager — built upon a rapidly growing profile regionally and internationally, with the album’s material finding the duo expanding upon the sound and songwriting approach that won them praise: breezy and melodic, radio friendly pop with heavy thematic concerns. The album’s material touched upon adulthood and the loss of innocence; the accompanying tough and sobering lessons of life as you get older; the freedom and power that comes as one takes control of their life and destiny and so on. But it was also unpinned by profound grief of loss. Life, after all is about recognizing that immense heartbreak and devastating loss are part of the price of admission, and that somehow you have to figure out a way to move forward.
Palace Winter’s highly anticipated, third album . . . Keep Dreaming, Buddy is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Tambourhinoceros Records, and unlike their previously released material, . . .Keep Dreaming, Buddy‘s material was written through a long distance correspondence as the band’s Coleman was residing in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. “Caspar was sending me these synth hooks and drum loops from Denmark, so I started coming up with melodies and lyrical ideas to record into my phone,” Coleman says of the writing sessions. While Coleman’s lyrics were inspired by Tenerife’s unique landscape, they also draw metaphorical parallels between Mt. Teide, a dormant volcano, which also is one of Spain’s tallest peaks, and the looming fear of a relationship disintegrating, Hesselager’s instrumental parts were inspired by Copenhagen’s landscape. And as a result, the album’s material is literally a tale of two cities and two completely different emotional states.
Over the past handful of months, I’ve written about three of the album’s previously released singles:
- Top of the Hill,” was a great example of the album’s overall tale of two cities and two completely different emotional states. Featuring shimmering and icy synths, thumping beats and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook paired with Coleman’s volcanic imagery-based lyrics, the song captures the bubbling dissatisfaction, boredom, frustration and distrust of a relationship about to boil over and explode.
- “Won’t Be Long,” . . . .Keep Dreaming Buddy‘s second single was an expansive song that featured elements of arena rock, glam rock and synth pop, complete with a rousingly anthemic hook, a crunchy power chord-driven riff, shimmering synth arpeggios and strummed guitar. But interestingly enough, the song is actually deceptively and ironically upbeat as it tackles the anxiety of anticipatory grief, as it focuses on a narrator, who is preparing for the inevitable loss of a dear, loved one. Loss and despair are always around the corner, indeed.
- “Deeper End,” the album’s third single was a decidedly genre-defying affair that found the duo pushing their sound in a new direction without changing the essentially elements of the sound that has won them attention internationally. Featuring an infectious hook, shimmering synth arpeggios and strummed guitar, the breezy song is one part synth pop. one part 70s AM rock, one part country — but while centered around an unusual juxtaposition: the song as the band’s Carl Coleman explains is “a story about a bad trip at a weird house party I went to with my sister.” Granddaddy’s Jason Lytle contributes a guest verse to the song, a verse in which his character dispenses harsh yet very trippy truths to the song’s hallucinating and anxious narrator.
“Richard (Says Yes)” . . . .Keep Dreaming Buddy‘s fourth and latest single is a bit of a playful, thematic left turn that finds the duo simply wanting to write a big, upbeat, party anthem centered around an expansive song structure, featuring alternating breakneck loud sections and quieter, completive section. While continuing a run of singles that find the band pushing their sound in a new direction — in this case, a sort of proggy take on their breezy yet melancholy pop — the new single further cements their unerring knack for crafting rousingly anthemic hooks. Much like the album’s previously released singles, “Richard (Says Yes) finds the members of Palace Winter collaborating with Penny Police‘s Marie Fjeldsted and saxophonist Ned Ferm.
Interestingly, the song was inspired by a documentary on Jimi Hendrix, which featured the equally legendary and outrageous Little Richard (whom Hendrix, once played for in the early days of his career). “Little Richard came on and we were both just floored by how f***in’ alive and funny and inspiring he was. So, he kind of became this little team mascot for us. Like, just do it ALL! ‘Put some sugar on it, man! MORE!’ So this song is exactly that. Richard says yes to f***in’ EVERYTHING!” Palace Winter’s Carl Coleman says. It’s a “big colourful banger to fill the canvas.”
“‘Richard (Says Yes)’ has this really extroverted, larger-than-life feeling about it. You can’t bring it down. It’s just a machine that runs over everything. I get these almost synesthesia-like moments when listening to it,” adds the band’s Caspar Hesselager.