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Album review: Fever Dream

By Sheroog Kubur, November 10 2022

Palaye Royale prioritizes putting on a show above all else. They’ve intricately carved out the world of first the Boom Boom Room and then taking on the alternate persona of the Bastards for the album of the same name. For their fourth record, aptly titled Fever Dream, the band has elected to put the theatrics on the backburner in favour of reflection. Rather than focusing on expanding their world, Palaye Royale is instead looking over the kingdom they’ve built, asking what it took to get to that point and if it was worth it. 

The greyscale album cover is telling of what to expect with the record — they ditch the colourful fervour of previous releases for a daydream, backing vocals supporting the heaviness of the instrumentation. Despite the sentimentality, the album doesn’t waste any time. The first thing you hear is an acoustic guitar sorrowfully playing a simple melody with vocalist Remington Leith sounding pensive and mournful, almost like he’s singing a prayer. The intro transitions into its second half, “Eternal Life” with whining guitars and building drums. The lyrics are angst-ridden and highlighted by the shouting that underlies Leith asking “Can anybody hear me?” cementing the idea that the band is speaking into the void. 

The album is a more refined homage to their previous releases, emphasizing Leith’s raspiness without it sounding like he needs a glass of water. Emerson Barrett on drums retains that bluesy sound that they built their foundations on, adapting to the different auras of each track but still managing to keep its bouncy and vibrant character. Sebastian Danzig’s guitar playing is flaunted with several guitar and drum outros peppered throughout the album. 

Fever Dream leans into a more staged theatricality as opposed to their traditional eccentric clothing and self-expression. Each song contains some orchestral element underneath a myriad of vocal layering and instruments playing off in the distance to lean into the dream aspect. The tracks are notably slower with most songs opting to build to a triumphant chorus instead of them teasing the end of the album. “Broken” and “Oblivion” are ambient, the vocals sounding distant and cloudy. “Line It Up” follows a similar pattern, but the addition of the LP’s equally unique vocals breaks up the sometimes overwhelming feeling of the album. “King of the Damned” and “Off With The Head” are the most refreshing songs of the album, ditching the atmospheric and hazy production for a more grounded sound. 

The influence of frequent collaborator and producer Chris Garetti is strongly felt. The album is densely packed with different elements to make it sound effortlessly grandiose. It’s aggressively clean and polished, which isn’t an inherently negative thing. If Boom Boom Room Side A and Side B retained their more DIY sound, The Bastards attempted to replicate that and Fever Dream turned away from that idea completely. 

Fever Dream is a checkpoint for the band — a collection of everything that they’ve learned during their run. It’s an album that the band can use as a cathartic release of all the tension built and fans can use it to recognize their growth. Danzig recommends listening to the album as you would a vinyl, track-by-track with no replays or pauses, absorbing the music. Doing so may induce mild a desire to slip into the void never to be seen again, but it would be well worth it. The album can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and wherever else you stream music. 

Sheroog’s Recommendation: “Off With The Head” for an homage to their old music and “Paranoid” to get excited about this new direction.

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