Chapel Club - Palace (Loog)

Debut from Londons new darlings on the indie scene.

Released Feb 9th, 2011 via Loog / By Clementine Lloyd
Chapel Club - Palace (Loog) Framed by the inclusion of the atmospheric scene setter of the simply titled ‘Intro’, Chapel Club’s debut record scales the dizzy heights of love and lust in discordant synth and strings, anchored alongside silky smooth lyrical musings from Lewis Bowman. The opener surveys the panorama of a spacious, sometimes desolate, landscape of feedback and elongated Theremin induced cries through which each track plays out. With a calm swagger layering the nervy energy and subject matter, the record holds a naïve charm.

Perhaps the anthem of the new year so far ‘Surfacing’ gives a rebooted classic track first recorded in 1931 a overhaul, gilding the borrowed lyrics so they eek into tragedy, perhaps a little despair. Beautiful nonetheless, the echoed lyrics “dream a little dream of me” recall this tune in a flurry of fast paced riffs and pedals. Keeping the pace full and fast with ‘Five Trees’, another recognizable track from the London lads, the chorus kicks up a fuss, backed by a cacophony of screeching reverb and stellar drum patterns. This is an eternal staple of the Club, rhythmic drums keeping time as the pace pitches and slows, ‘White Knight Position’ hitting you like machine gun fire at first, before Burrows hails the chorus, and the drum beat undulates in a gesture of over-confident swaggering charm.

‘The Shore’, complete with its audio intonations of gulls and rolling waves, offers a more stripped back pensive trip into the confused mind of a lover, lyrics “I’m having a billboard time, on this aimless train ride” glisten alongside the discordant synth and elegant riffs, culminating in a snap of tension and sarcasm to oppose the beauty beneath. ‘Blind’ offers a little more optimism, folding more conventional rhythmic string arrangements into the conversational patter of opposed attraction, Bowman’s voice at his silkiest.

‘Fine Light’ is a feat of musical engineering, with its deep cascading, drum-beat arching over the background of angelic sighs from the choir. Elements of those ballad-like tracks from Echo And The Bunnymen shimmer throughout this track, exploring different avenues of feeling, ending in one last snap in which the pace picks up through the drum-beat and positive energy is boundless. These rolling drums also colour ‘O Maybe I’, lyrics concluding “…should settle down for a quiet life”, as the Doppler effect guitar chords root you in as the audio bars wash past you eternally, frustrated feelings that life is passing by concocted as the track ends with “can feel my heart is falling apart”.

‘All The Eastern Girls’ is more open in structure, creating a true rhythmic flow complete with the beautiful underlying sweetness of fleeting guitar chords before we are dropped into the chorus. More consciously ‘Indie’ in its delivery, it is maybe the catchiest hum-along number. Palace has a fine balance of openly mainstream qualities delicately placed alongside more niche operations. Informed synth-creations like ‘After The Flood’ enriches the more stripped back moments such as ender ‘Paper Thin’. In rhetoric questions and sarcastic intonations, the record is confident, narcissistic and unsteady in equal measure, beautifully rendering the range of emotions felt by a person whilst faced with the love of another.