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  • Writer's pictureGemma Cockrell

ALBUM REVIEW: Palace - Ultrasound

Ultrasound gives unthinkable tragedy a voice, transforming it into an uplifting healing process

Constructed of dense and layered synths, driven by dreamy, atmospheric vocals and steady drum beats, Palace’s music is relaxing and wistful, yet simultaneously commanding and moving. But when compared to the band’s previous output, their fourth album, Ultrasound, packs a new level of impact across 13 tracks.

Those who have been following the band over the last year will recognise some of these tracks from the pair of companion EPs, Part I - When Everything Was Lost and Part II - Nightmares & Ice Cream, which were released back in 2023. Here, these individual chapters come together, slotting seamlessly into place alongside some new tracks to make sense of the full picture.

As the first batch of songs for the album were being written, frontman, Leo Wyndham’s partner suffered a late miscarriage, leading to the album naturally becoming a diary of their year-long struggle. Beginning with loss, then processing, and finally acceptance, release and growth, Wyndham shows admiration for the dignity, strength and courage that his wife was able to uphold throughout.

Reuniting with long-time producer, Adam Jaffrey, eight years after they first worked together on the band’s debut album, So Long Forever, surely enabled Palace to tap into these emotions with such raw honesty on Ultrasound. By working alongside a familiar collaborator, who has known the band for almost a decade, the deepest and darkest insights and emotions are able to seep into every aspect of the album.

Palace: welcoming the listener into Wyndham's diary (photo credit: Keerthana Kunnath)

With a title like Ultrasound, and song names like ‘When Everything Was Lost’ and ‘Son’, it’s evident that Wyndham doesn’t mask anything behind metaphor or vague description while recalling his experiences. Since miscarriage can often be a topic which is shied away from or overlooked, this openness becomes one of the most defining and admirable elements of Ultrasound.

The acceptance, release and growth that is reached in the latter half of the record on tracks like ‘How Far We’ve Come’ is rewarding for the listener, who has followed the journey in chronological order alongside Wyndham, holding his hand each step of the way. This is how personal Ultrasound feels - as if the listener is opening up a diary and reading each and every page in great detail.

But there are no feelings of unease or discomfort; we aren’t intruding, but being welcomed in with open arms into Wyndham’s experiences, as he hands over a piece of his soul in exchange for being embraced in his moments of darkness. Ultrasound gives unthinkable tragedy a voice, transforming it into an uplifting healing process and showing that the darkest of times have a light at the end of the tunnel, even when they can seem never-ending.

Rating: 8.2/10

Ultrasound is out on Friday (5 April) via Universal Music Operations Limited

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