Palaye Royale – Fever Dream (Album Review)

Palaye Royale – Fever Dream 
Released: October 28th, 2022

LineUp

Remington Leith // Lead Vocals
Sebastian Danzig // Guitar & Keys
Emerson Barrett // Drums

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As someone who has fallen off the wagon a little with this band over the years, I must say I am nervous going into this record. Some of the singles felt a little disjointed for me & I am not sure what to expect! Going in with a lot of hope & an open mind, let’s see where we land…

As always, please enjoy the raw & unedited notes from my first listen to Fever Dream as a full body of work, track by track.

ETERNAL LIFE (INTRO)

Let’s start slow… simple acoustics set the scene & carry you away to a mystical land from the get-go. Remington is displaying his vocal dynamics straight away with a little raspy screaming moment thrown in around the softer melodics. Just quickly as the sweetest moment on keys comes and goes, this intro starts to build before thrusting you into…

ETERNAL LIFE

The first track! Weirdly I am getting British pop-rock vibes!? “help me, can anybody help me ” is screamed in the pre-chorus setting up this very dancy number. The bass line throughout the first two minutes is a 10/10 groovy vibe, before the track changes pace and builds into an operatic bridge that I cannot wait to learn EVERY WORD to & passionately sing along with. The bridge ends with Remington pleading: “I’m holding out my hands and changing everything I hate about myself”. Honestly, for a first track, they have started strong and I must say I am hooked. This has been worth the wait!

NO LOVE IN LA

Okay, I regret saying the last track was ‘dancy’. THIS IS WHERE ITS AT. The super catchy hook and boppy beats are a great juxtaposition to the theme of the song, which is ultimately about how shallow Los Angeles is (feels). Unlike the beginning moments of the record, which is, very much fewer instruments, played extremely well, we get the addition of synths and strings in this track! It’s leaving me with a feeling of pride. We have been gifted with all the elements of Palaye Royale here without being it being messy. Every sound and moment has a purpose. Very much a sonic step forward.

PUNCHING BAG

Look, I am an absolute slvt for an upbeat lively song that’s actually super depressing in lyrical content. So, I love this song. We are hearing Remington in self-loathing mode exclaiming to bask in his terrible traits & make him a punching bag because of that. The guitar moments post-chorus that then continue throughout, show off guitarist Sebastian Danzig’s talent with a very melodic riff. This track is my standout so far & it’s been out for well over a year!

BROKEN

Bringing it down a little to start with on this JOURNEY of a song, I hope that this catchy single will go down as the band’s emo anthem forever. It’s just so relatable and everything about each element is perfectly executed. Dreamy and soft verses over gently plucked guitar strings launch into anthemic choruses that will borderline have you in tears as we all yell ‘YOU KNOW I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN BROKEN’ together. Yes, I am singing it alone in my room right now. But I know somewhere we are all singing this together. Fans and the band, all together, all the time. I love this song.

FEVER DREAM

If you haven’t already listened to this monstrous song, where the heck have you been? The fact that it’s 5 minutes long is fantastic because truly why does it have to end? With transitional moments that rival the likes of ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’, and dare I say it… ’Bohemian Rhapsody’, it’s no wonder this is the title track. OH, AND IT HAS A GUITAR SOLO! I hope Palaye Royale close with this forever during their live performances. The sing-a-long at the end is contagious. If you don’t know the band you honestly might think there are multiple vocalists as Sebastian demonstrates his dynamic talents in full force on this number

LINE IT UP

I am glad that this song is more relaxed because surely it would be impossible to back up ‘Fever Dream‘? Featuring the high-pitch brilliance of LP (Laura Pergolizzi), this song is an emotional number that feels simultaneously a breathing moment for the record, as well as somehow absolutely huge? It’s more chill to listen to in the context of Fever Dream as a body of work. Perfectly placed on the album. However, if you heard this song on its own and not on a full play-through, it absolutely stands aside as an absolute banger of a track.

TOXIC IN YOU

This short punchy moment is the most ‘pop-sounding’ on the record and is probably the first I haven’t loved from start to finish. There’s nothing wrong with the track, it just maybe feels a little like a filler and doesn’t necessarily add anything to the full record. Without this song, the record would be just as good, in my eyes. The DRUMS though, are outstanding on this track. Well played, Emerson

WASTED SORROW

Okay, this one is back to a sexy bass line and catchy dance vibe. With what feels like a very intentional shift in sound & back to the addition of some of those synth/pop moments, I kind of understand ‘TOXIC IN YOU’ now, it almost sets you up for this song. Just as you think it’s going to be an upbeat dance number from start to end, they just casually throw in a breakdown. Yepp, you heard me, a BREAKDOWN. Screams, slowed down beat, bloody breakdown. Love this song.

PARANOID

A slightly less strong number, this one definitely stands out as different. When the single was released back in 2021, I found it hard to get into as it’s very much more keys-heavy and poppy than expected. It fits with the scheme of the record and showcases the band’s talent to shift between sounds! It’s not a personal favourite as it feels a little less ‘Palaye Royale’ to me. But a great track nonetheless

OBLIVIAN

I almost don’t want to say anything about this song because I want you to experience it yourself. I will say Remington has NEVER sounded better. And when I had a chat with Sebastian, we both agreed this was our favourite song on the whole record… More on that soon!

LIFELESS STARS

The further I get into this record the more I can respect the way they have gone so hard on each track to stand out as its own moment. Even if each song isn’t as strong as the other, every single song could be a single. Maybe that’s why there have been 6 singles already! This one is the most recent single and a very catchy number. Would love to see it on a movie soundtrack!

KING OF THE DAMNED

Oh baby this is exactly what I picture as ‘Palaye Royale’. Sound-wise it’s like they captured themselves 100% on this track. Huge rock energy. Grungy and sexy but catchy and dynamic at the same time. I love that a song so quintessentially them is so late in the record. Really keeping us hooked all the way to the end. The bass drum post-chorus is SO powerful.

OFF WITH THE HEAD

Another dynamic number that is an absolute performance from the three-piece. When they go hard on the rock and challenge every aspect of how a typical song is arranged, that’s when they smash it out of the park every time. A HUGE moment that sees Sebastian smashing another solo, builds and builds only to once again (just like the first two songs) catapult you into…

OFF WITH THE HEAD (OUTRO)

The final track! It’s hard to believe I have been listening to this album for over 50 minutes by this point. Genuinely I don’t want this record to end. The final number changes pace & becomes another sing-a-long moment that has possibly the slowest fade out on a song I have ever heard. I genuinely have to take a moment before I find a way to summarise this album, to be honest.

Okay, understanding the band was in a horrible place prior to even feeling like they wanted to write this record, they didn’t have to go THAT HARD on the comeback? This album is so much more than I ever expected. I have considered myself a ‘casual’ fan of Palaye Royale since the emo kid days of the early 2000s. This album, however, has turned me into a full-on member of the Soldiers of the Royal Council

Each track could be a single. So many songs challenge traditional pop or rock arrangements. Every sonic moment is intentional and carefully placed. The band have removed any messy moments that have been considered ‘too much’ in the past and created a VERY strong body of work. Each member has nailed their craft in every way possible but a very special mention needs to go to singer Remington for a truly outstanding performance on every track.

Throw out any opinions you might have of Palaye Royale, good or bad, then make this record the piece of music that defines them. Well done.

Palaye Royale – Fever Dream tracklisting

1. Eternal Life (Intro)
2. Eternal Life
3. No Love In LA
4. Punching Bag
5. Broken
6. Fever Dream
7. Line It Up (feat. LP )
8. Toxic In You
9. Wasted Sorrow
10. Paranoid
11. Oblivian
12. Lifeless Stars
13. King Of The Damned
14. Off With The Head
15. Off With The Head (Outro)

Rating: 9/10
Fever Dream is out now on Sumerian Records. Stream it here
Review by Lili Jean Berry. Insta: @lilijeanberry

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