Flume’s newest album is a mixed bag, with a number of brilliant tracks interspersed with some forgettable moments in between.
His first full length album since 2019’s Hi This Is Flume, Palaces has a number of surprising features from big names such as Caroline Polachek and Damon Albarn. These perhaps surprising features contributed to the unique form of this album, which is definitely much stronger in the second half. It’s full of incredibly sharp hooks and punchy beats, broken with some softer moments in between.
Palaces is an album centred around Flume’s return to his home of Australia and the iconic natural landscape and biodiversity. The album even features bird song recordings which are subtly woven throughout the album and provide an excellent ode to which Flume’s homeland. This is most notable on title track “Palaces," featuring Damon Albarn, which provides a soft and calming melody to accompany the birds.
Opening track “Highest Building” starts off promisingly, but is ultimately let down by the unnatural mash of auto-tuned vocals. In contrast, subsequent tracks “Sirens” and “Hollow” demonstrate a brilliant contrast to the electronic edge of the drops and the smooth vibrato of the vocals. It’s an effect that feels much more natural and complimentary to the sharp electric sound throughout.
However, some of the standout moments of the album are when Flume is solo. Tracks “DHLC”, “Go” and “Love Light” are excellent; the addictive drops and catchy beats are immediately intriguing and infectious. But then these great moments are broken by tracks like “I Can’t Tell,” which feels dull and unexciting, especially compared to subsequent heavy bass track “Get U.”
Palaces is, overall, a decent album and one that would translate brilliantly to the live space. The second half of the album is definitely the stronger half, and the disappointing opening album track is definitely made up for with later album tracks like “Go” and “Get U”. Whilst some tracks are arguably a bit forgettable, this album is still full of some brilliant moments.