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Chapel Club – Palace

February 8, 2011 by  

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Chapel Club – Palace

NAME: Chapel Club
ALBUM: Palace
DATE: 31January2011

LABEL: Interscope Records


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Foundations laid for huge success

LOCATION: London, England

LINE UP: Lewis Bowman (Vocals), Michael Hibbert (Guitar), Alex Parry (Guitar), Liam Arklie (Bass), Rich Mitchell (Drums)

Chapel Club.jpg

WHAT’S THE STORY?: Having released a couple of promotional singles in 2010, Chapel Club start 2011 with the release of their debut album ‘Palace’. Having received plenty of radio airtime, toured for NME as well as with Two Door Cinema Club and an appearance on Jools Holland, Chapel Club have steadily made a name for themselves, thus heightening the anticipation for this record. And they don’t disappoint.

Beginning the album with instrumental track ‘Depths’, which wouldn’t feel out of place on a Hans Zimmer soundtrack, it’s easy to ask ourselves if this is really what we expected from the band. However, as soon as the bass and drum combination during second track and single ‘Surfacing’ kick in, we get our first glimpse of the band’s true sound; a touch of gloom, but the kind of gloom that’s propelled Editors and White Lies to fame. Only it seems that Chapel Club have gone one step further and introduced a more upbeat, rock element to proceedings, all the while somehow managing to retain that gloomy atmosphere through Bowman’s fantastic vocals and the whining guitar heavily present on both ‘Five Trees’ and ‘After the Flood’.

The perfect drum and bass combination of Arklie and Mitchell makes ‘White Knight Position’ one of the standout tracks of the record, which leads us onto the first breath the band take, slowing things down with ‘The Shore’, ‘Blind’ and ‘Fine Light’; three of the longest tracks on the album. It’s pleasant for us to hear them produce music at this pace, which is such a stark contract to the first half of the album. And, also unlike the first half of the album, these songs sound like they were made to be played at huge venues. Clearly signs of an ambitious band. And they have right to be ambitious, as they come out of ‘Fine Light’ returning to that fast paced rhythm we’ve previously familiarised ourselves with.

‘O Maybe I’ is a bit of a low point. But only in terms of the music though. Whereas the previous tracks all have standout qualities and make us want to listen to them again and again, ‘O Maybe I’ doesn’t have that killer quality. Lyrically though, it brilliantly sees Bowman being about as honest as he has been on the album, admitting ‘I just can’t pretend that I care’ whilst contemplating decision after decision about whether it’s time to settle down or whether he’s happy having fun, questioning whether it’s okay to ‘f*ck around with someone’s wife’.

‘All The Eastern Girls’ is the penultimate track of the album and comes to a sudden halt after the effective, uptempo intro of guitar and drums. The song gains pace as it becomes harder to stop yourself tapping your foot. But then again, why would you want to stop? Bowman tells us how he is ‘the shepherd instead of the lamb’, suggesting he isn’t a follower. And rightly so. This record is very much their own work. It’s easy to see where their influences have come from, whether it be conscious or not (Editors, The Smiths, even Joy Division at times) but ultimately they’ve made a record that makes us want more as soon as the final track ‘Paper Thin’ comes to an end after strong use of that echoing guitar sound we’re now so used to.

Chapel Club haven’t made an album that is perfect, but it’s by no means far off, which is a very commendable effort for their first attempt. But what they have done is laid the foundations of a band who always seem prepared to take a step up to the next level, whatever it may be at the time, and who aren’t afraid to experiment with their music. And, at the end of the day, all these factors do make for a quality album.

SOUNDS LIKE: A brilliantly produced album that highlights how versatile Chapel Club can be. From the instrumental intro, through the drum and bass infused first half of the album to the final slower and albeit more emotional side of the record, this is a very talented group of boys, who in the music industry are soon to become men.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You like the idea of classic gloom, but sometimes a bit more uptempo than you’d expect. Think White Lies, but faster. Sometimes.


Submitted By MattOrd



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