Edinburgh five-piece Storm the Palace defies genre labels on its second and newest full-length record, Delicious Monster, out October 4. It is an album that moves between intensity and ambient music with ease, capturing a year of emotion into a record that is simultaneously cathartic and enjoyable.
Perhaps the most impressive quality about Delicious Monster is this duality: the music moves from folk to punky, the lyrics shift between angry and dreamy and the production is polished on some tracks and DIY on others.
While “Clive” opens the record with a distinctly spacey, distorted sound; “If I Were a Seagull” feels folkier and builds strings and guitar picking throughout to feel far more intense; and “Ancient Goldfish” is grungier and textured with just a touch of dissonance – and these are only the first three of eleven tracks.
The rest of Delicious Monster continues in a similar manner, shifting cleanly and easily between lighter tracks and more rocking ones. At times, the music feels dramatic, theatric and almost cinematic.
The constant threads throughout, however, are vocalist Sophie Dodds’ impressively smooth, strong voice, drummer Alberto Bravo’s almost tactile percussion and interesting contrasts from nearly every other instrument: Dodds’ guitar and Willa Bews’ bass are grungy, whereas Jon Bews provides gorgeous violin melodies and Reuben Taylor interjects with several other fascinating musical textures (accordion, organ, harmonium and synthesizers).
These musical contrasts are, in part, because several tracks were recorded with an acoustic set up in an apartment while others were created in a studio with the full band and drums. However, the band’s impressive maturity and realistic attitude account for the majority of these dualities, and the end result is a sonic tug-of-war that accurately represents the chaos of life.
“The album has something of an unhinged feel, as it lurches from the ‘monster’ tracks to the ‘delicious’ ones, but it comes together to tell a story of acceptance and frustration, and the ultimate pointlessness of trying to keep anything under control,” said Sophie Dodds, vocalist and guitarist. “It features some of our angriest moments to date, but also our most sublime and melodic. These extremes may reduce the number of people willing to listen to the whole thing, but for me they represent a much more honest, fun and cathartic record.”
Though Storm the Palace has worked with labels and PR companies in the past, Delicious Monster was a 100% DIY production and was supported by listeners and a crowdfunding campaign – thus proving that, though Storm the Palace resists traditional boundaries of genre, their fan base is strong. And Delicious Monster definitely delivered; it is a powerful and wonderful record.
Stream and purchase Delicious Monster via Bandcamp below.