At the centre of Tenerife stands Mt. Teide, inviting you to climb its slopes, yet reminding you of the destruction it can unleash. The volcano has become the symbol at the centre of Palace Winter’s third album …Keep Dreaming, Buddy.
It all started with three words, says Palace Winter’s Caspar Hesselager: “Colour. Slower. Violent.” Before any strings had been strummed, before any lyrics had been inked, Palace Winter established this trinity as their guiding credo for their third album. This intention landed lead singer Carl Coleman in Tenerife where he began writing melodies and lyrics over instrumental demos sent from Hesselager, still in Copenhagen.
Fittingly, Tenerife was more colourful than Copenhagen. Life was slower there, and the island’s looming volcano reminded Coleman of life’s perilous exposure to violent eruptions.
“I began to think of the volcano as a metaphor for our lives. Volatile, mysterious, beautiful, dangerous, ever changing. Wherever you were on the island, you could see it looking down on us. Asleep. But at any moment, it could wake up and destroy everything. In some ways that primitive volatility is a bit like us; when we reveal or discover different sides to ourselves, some of them darker and destructive.”
Musing on themes like the near loss of a loved one, relationship insecurity, and a “bad mushroom trip at a weird house party”, …Keep Dreaming, Buddy positions itself as the pessimist in the room, incessantly tapping on your shoulder with reminders of how life in paradise can be suddenly and violently interrupted.
Palace Winter’s previous two albums have been marked by sonic optimism in the face of thematic gravity, and the third record continues this upward hopeful gaze. The album title transmits an aura of cool reassurance, perhaps accompanied by a wink and a pat on the back. Yet, how should we interpret the album title’s apparent optimism when confronted with “Lava Moving Over the Land”, the melancholic closing track? …Keep Dreaming, Buddy, Palace Winter seem to whisper as we are engulfed by fire in the record’s closing scene. Is the album title meant to communicate an optimistic outlook despite this violent ending? Or should we interpret it as condescending towards the naivety of such a stance, perhaps accompanied by a sneer and a flip of the bird instead?
…Keep Dreaming, Buddy distinguishes itself from Palace Winter’s previous work with the introduction of this uncertainty and duality. The album also features guest vocalists, Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Soffie Viemose (Lowly), and Marie Fjelsted (Penny Police), who give voice to this duality on their respective tracks. Palace Winter are also joined by acclaimed saxophonist Ned Ferm (Mark Guiliana, MØ, Kira Skov) on “1996” and “Richard (Says Yes)”.
Looking back on the making of the songs, Hesselager says “I think there’s a hint of a cry for freedom… from repeating what you’ve done before.” The sound of the new record – what Palace Winter describe as something akin to “Jim James and St. Vincent producing Elliot Smith over Kendrick Lamar beats” – is the result of this desperate search for inspiration in new places. “We embrace some craziness and mania in a way we haven’t before” says Hesselager about their hydra-like hunt for new sounds in 70’s soul, 80’s synths, 90’s guitars, and 2000’s hip-hop.
Palace Winter are Australian lead singer and guitarist Carl Coleman, and Danish pianist and producer Caspar Hesselager. Their third album is once again engineered, mixed and mastered by Hesselager and self-produced by both Hesselager and Coleman.