Palace talk “ferocious, beautiful” new album ‘Ultrasound’: “There is often great hope to be found in difficult times”

Palace talk “ferocious, beautiful” new album ‘Ultrasound’: “There is often great hope to be found in difficult times”

Palace vocalist Leo Wyndham has spoken to NME about the band’s fourth album ‘Ultrasound’, playing Coachella, and coming to terms with his wife’s miscarriage.

READ MORE: Coachella 2024: the big talking points from this year’s line-up

‘Ultrasound’ was released last week (April 5) and follows on from 2022’s ‘Shoals’. According to Wyndham, Palace’s new record comes with “much more clarity”.

“It’s not a concept album, but it was written about a year of the band and the journey my wife and I went on after she suffered a miscarriage,” he said.

He continued: “There’s a lot of excitement about the record coming out, but there are also some nerves. It’s always scary when something you make is in the spotlight. When you’re writing about such personal things, it’s hard not to care what people think.”

When Palace first started writing ‘Ultrasound’, there was no grand vision. The band weren’t even sure if they were going to be making an album. Instead, they booked two weeks in the studio with producer Adam Jaffrey (who’d previously worked with Palace on their 2016 debut album ‘So Long Forever’) to create a handful of songs.

“We were just going into the studio to see what would happen. There was no pressure and we had no expectations about what we were going to make,” explained Wyndham. “With previous albums, we’ve spent years writing and rehearsing the songs, then trying to piece them all together. This was just more spontaneous. The whole thing just felt really fresh and organic.”

Inspired by that first session, Palace repeated the process again and again, with ‘Ultrasound’ written and recorded between September 2022 and October 2023.

“There have been moments over the years when you can feel a bit lost, or you start worrying that you’re running out of steam,” said Wyndham. “This record feels like completely new territory though. We’ve fallen in love with music again and it’s fun to think of the possibilities of where we could go next. There are no limits to what we can make Palace.”

Leaning into that spontaneity, the band also released companion EPs ‘When Everything Was Lost’ and ‘Nightmares & Ice Cream’ to showcase their work in progress, with many of those tracks also featuring on ‘Ultrasound’. “We tried to not focus on what people thought of those EPs though. We just kept our heads down and kept writing,” Wyndham explained.

‘Ultrasound’ was partly inspired by Cocteau Twins, Massive Attack and Neil Young – but a majority of the record was created by Palace walking into the studio and just making noises that felt exciting.

“With our old albums, we’d create dynamics and drama by whacking cymbals, hitting the distortion pedals, and making as much noise as possible. With this one, we wanted to create something heavy but contained,” said Wyndham. “We wanted this vibrating feeling to flow throughout the record, until we got to the ferocious, beautiful ‘Goodnight, Farewell’, which closes out the album. That song just feels like letting go of everything that happened to us that year.”

Palace press shot 2024. CREDIT: Keerthana Kunnath

Wyndham went on to say that writing ‘Ultrasound’ helped him understand the loss that he and his partner experienced. “Music has always been my way of finding my identity in difficult situations,” he said. “As a man, you realise that a miscarriage is very much a woman’s experience and I was witness to my partner going through this very physical thing,” he offered. “As an onlooker, it’s a very complicated thing to make sense of. Making this album felt like a release.”

“After you’ve experienced a miscarriage, you realise so many people have also been through that but it’s still such a hard thing to understand,” he said, with his partner encouraging him to talk about his experiences.

“I feel like I’ve finally got to a place where I’ve kind of made sense of it.”

Wyndham concluded that “the most important thing is that ‘Ultrasound’ is not a record about the experience that me and my partner had”, but “about the journey we went on after that”.

“Sometimes you go through incredibly testing things with people you love, but there is often great hope to be found in those difficult times,” he said. “There were times when it was terrible and brutal, but there was also this light to be found. My partner and I are closer than we’ve ever been, and we understand each other so much more now. It’s a positive record, despite what first inspired it.”

The frontman went on to say it’s still a difficult experience to put into words, but he believes it’s an “important” thing to talk about.

“There’s definitely something a bit uncomfortable about it all but it’s always good to be open about how you feel.“

It’s a mantra Wyndham has always believed in. Debut album ‘So Long Forever’ dealt with heartache and loss while he fearlessly confronted mental turmoil on ‘Shoal’.

“Over the years, music has been a lifeline for me. I don’t know what I’d do without it,” he explained. “I consider myself an open person but there are so many things I’ve experienced that I just can’t put into words. With music, I can pull things out of myself and tap into my subconscious. It’s a real gift, and something that’s vital for me.”

“It helps me make sense of myself and the world around me. The fact it helps other people too is an incredible bonus. Seeing the response our songs have got from other people is just wild.”

Wyndham said he believes Palace’s music connects so deeply with people because of its honesty. “When you write from the heart, people respond to that. It’s an incredible thing,” he admitted. “There’s a lot of crying at our shows, and they’re always an intense experience.

“It’s this big, cathartic experience that we all share in. That’s really powerful.”

Palace have already played ‘Ultrasound’ in its entirety at a special headline show at London’s EartH – but the first real test of the album will be at this weekend’s Coachella Festival, with the band playing the Mojave Stage alongside the likes of Grimes and Kevin Abstract ahead of a UK headline tour.

“A lot of the new songs feel like they’re made for playing live,” said Wyndham. “But Coachella? That feels really surreal. I’m excited to embrace the strangeness of it all.”

“We still have a massive sense of imposter syndrome when we go into a nice studio or when we get invited to do something like Coachella,” he continued, with 2024 marking the 10 year anniversary of Palace’s debut single ‘Veins’. “We didn’t believe anything would come of this band back then, but here we are. Still, you often think ‘what the fuck are we doing here, we don’t deserve to be here’ but that pressure can be a good thing.”

He added: “When we look at the other guitar bands that are at our level, we do sound different. We don’t really fit neatly into a box. With ‘Ultrasound’, we’re learning to be more confident and embrace who we are as a band.”

‘Ultrasound’ is out now. Palace tour the UK in November. Tickets are available here.

The post Palace talk “ferocious, beautiful” new album ‘Ultrasound’: “There is often great hope to be found in difficult times” appeared first on NME.

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