Palace - 'Binary Music'

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Palace - 'Binary Music'

This release is littered with lush AOR compositions and completely sans filler.

While unknown to most, including many a fan of Melodic Rock, Michael Palace is no stranger to the scene. He has collaborated with many recognizable singers like Harry Hess (Harem Scarem), Jakob Samuel (The Poodles) and Toby Hitchcock (Pride Of Lions) to just name a few. The success of his prior work led to a decision by Frontiers' management to offer him a record deal in his own right, thus enabling an avenue for him to step out from his behind-the-scenes role and continue releasing new music under his own moniker Palace. Taking advantage of the grandiose imagery that the name conjures, it is a perfect name to represent his musical vision.

'Binary Music' is actually his sophomore effort as bandleader, and based on his pedigree, a heightened sense of expectation is understandably deserved. However, it only takes a few short moments to realise the astounding quality of songs that 'Binary Music' consists of. This album is quite the standout and it's a mature statement meeting the standard of quality we've come to expect from the Melodic Rock that has been oozing from Sweden in the past few years.

The sizzle and sparkle of those classic, eighties AOR synthesizers decorate the music and the artwork equally screams affinity for those nascent days of the digital age. The album possesses a remarkable consistency and the tracks flow with remarkable ease. The songs all possess a similar energy and feel akin to fellow Swedes H.e.a.t, but songs like 'Nothing Personal' bend the ear by delivering it with a tinge of Fusion. The title track, 'Promised Land' and 'Dangerous Grounds' embody the very definition of the genre, and they prove why this style of music is embraced by so many. While those are only a few of the highlights, this release is littered with lush AOR compositions and completely sans filler.

What Palace have accomplished with 'Binary Music' is to successfully propel the classic AOR sounds of the eighties into the present day with genuine class and respect for the style. If you like the keyboard-heavy AOR luminaries such as Toto and Journey, yet appreciate the harder edge delivered by Dan Huff's Giant, 'Binary Music' is absolutely essential and it will likely end up on a few Best Of lists for 2018*.

Brent Rusche

(* this review is from Fireworks Magazine #85)

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