When they released their incredibly well-praised 2016 debut album 'So Long Forever', it seemed that London-based trio Palace were on the road to becoming one of the country's best new outfit. Their mature and poignant approach to the indie sound gained many to compare them to the likes of Foals and The National, giving them plenty of hope for any future releases. And now after three years away, the band are back with their eagerly awaited follow-up 'Life After', a record that looks to take that progressive and euphoric songwriting and build upon its strong foundations.
Although it is clear from the start that Palace may not have had as much of an easy time producing this difficult second album, given the direction the record sets off from after just a few songs. While there are certainly glimpses of their initial full-length on here, it seems obvious from the very beginning that they are looking to expand their ambitions, which results in a release that mirrors its original counterpart but also tries to move away from it. This makes 'Life After' a rather disjointed affair where the band seem to spend an awful lot of time wallowing in the blander cuts while its more impressive additions seem rushed through.
Creating a strong and sufficient sophomore album has been so monumental a task that it borders of cliche, but Palace have now found that out first hand. 'Life After' isn't so much a bad record but just one that doesn't know what it wants to be or where it wants to go. The group's lack of focus winds up making this collection a broken expedition, where its bolder and interesting moments seem chopped up amongst an underwhelming variety of bland indie-rock.