Monday, April 27, 2009

New and Notable: Ice Palace

Ice Palace is a quintet from Minneapolis led by Adam Sorenson, who's been writing, touring, and recording with various bands for a long time now, but has finally found what seems to be the proper vehicle for his dark, brooding songwriting. The band have a new record out, their second, called Wonder Subtly Crushing Us. Recorded with help from Craig Minowa of Cloud Cult at his Earthology Records studio and featuring a talented group of musicians, the album is a remarkable combination of earthy folk-rock and classic indie music that should turn some heads.

'Wonder' doesn't often sound like a singer/songwriter album, but it certainly feels like one. Sorenson's world-weary baritone - delivering beautifully worn poetry - is always front and center, backed by a band that knows how to keep the focus where it belongs. Sorenson's vocals sound something like a combination of Eddie Vedder and Mark Kozelek, which - as you might imagine - is quite striking much of the time. Musically, the band channels a variety of rock styles using a palette of electric and acoustic guitars, piano, horns and some fantastic drumming, subtly branching out to make the record's ten songs feel fresh and varied, but never scattered. "Coliseum" and "Lily" have a classic rock feel to them, while the rugged opener "Phonebook Pillow" and the menacing "Outside The Gates" seem more inspired by early nineties grunge. Add some Pavement-eque indie rock into the mix, and you have an interesting recipe that produces consistent and captivating results.

Adam Sorenson is making a good case for your attention with Wonder Subtly Crushing Us, and Ice Palace is a band you should be keeping an eye on. Check out their MySpace page to hear some tunes from the new record, or head over to my earlier post to download album highlight "Thoughts/Facts" for free.