Sunday, February 26, 2017

Palace Music - Viva Last Blues

Viva Last Blues represents a considerable leap forward for Palace Music.  Released in 1995, it has far more a full band sound than anything previous.  The band have a kind of loping, slightly warped country sound, exemplified by the opening two tracks More Brother Rides and Viva Ultra.  Some tracks have a darker, moody feel to them such as Brute Choir and the vengeful Tonight's Decision ("when he comes for me I will fuck him o, I will waste him in my own way"), and these songs are pretty effective.  The Mountain Low attracts attention for his lyrics about "if I could fuck a mountain..." etc but it's the kind of easy melody that Will Oldham would make his name with as Bonnie Prince Billy.  Later, New Partner has a lazy, relaxed easy charm, Oldham drawling "you were always on my mind".

Further into the album Work Hard / Play Hard rocks errr 'hard' with a full rocking sound and Oldham's squawked vocals. and the strutting, squalling guitars of Cat's Blues help to mix the sound up a bit, and stop the album from sounding too samey.  The rustic, bluesy folk of We All, Us Three, Will Ride and Old Jerusalem rounds off the album.