The story of Winter Palace began when multi-instrumentalist Martin Stender recalled a previous collaboration with fellow Dane and singer Line Pollas and decided to text her saying how her voice moved him. It served as a perfect pick-me-up for Pollas, who was recovering a depressive period in her life and now the fruits of their new ambient/alt-pop project can be heard on the first Winter Palace EP.
Line Pollas, with tones which wouldn’t sound out of place on either country or R&B records, adds the required melancholic ache to ‘Boys In The Park’. From this track, even though Winter Palace present themselves as a piano and voice duo, the predicted “splashes of 80s synths” are delivered in floods. Nevertheless, the soul of the song shines through the artificial layers. ‘Me And Julia’ is gentler and softer and the warmth between Pollas and Stender comes more sharply into focus; the song growing in stature as the arrangement becomes more expansive. That said, ‘Hemingway’ impresses even more with its subtle inflections and Pollas’ understated, breezy delivery. Only the last song, ‘Drum Beats’ loses its way slightly; Stender’s piano melody is certainly pleasant enough but there’s definitely a hook missing.
There was a risk that ‘Winter Palace EP’ would come across as rather mawkish but these songs boast some satisfyingly complex moments. Furthermore, with the coldest season finally over, this Copenhagen duo provide the warmth and relaxation which belies their name.
Soundcloud Stream for Winter Palace