Palehound’s New Album Casts a Powerful Spell

Lead singer Ellen Kempner could pass for an anxious ghost on “A Place I’ll Always Go.”

Palehound

A Place I’ll Always Go

Polyvinyl

Courtesy of Girlie Action Media

With a voice somewhere between a whisper and a sigh, Boston’s Ellen Kempner could pass for an anxious ghost on the second Palehound album. The understated songs on A Place I’ll Always Go split the difference between dramatic shoegaze rock and confessional folk, plumbing familiar subjects like crushing loss and love’s healing power, but cast their powerful spell through eloquently observed details rather than grand, clich├ęd pronouncements. “You will always be a week away from turning 21,” she murmurs at one point, elsewhere noting, “You’ve got the answers/To the questions/That your parents pointed to their god.” Turning from despair to renewal, Kempner quietly proclaims, “After weeks of frozen meals/I am in the produce aisle and I’m feeling all the fruits.” She’s also a subtly original guitarist who can craft the perfect texture or riff to underscore these moving expressions of grief and hope. A Place I’ll Always Go is a gently devastating gem.