Review: Pale :: “The Night, The Dawn And What Remains”

Farewell songs usually tend towards unrestrained sentimentality, do not celebrate the new beginning but lament the end. But even though this album is full of farewell songs, Pale from Aachen try not to remain in a wistful retrospective on “The Night, The Dawn And What Remains”. And that despite heavy losses. Most notably on “Bigger Than Life,” a song in which the band bids farewell to their guitarist Christian Danganh, who recorded the album but succumbed to cancer in May 2021. It’s not a melancholic ballad, but a song with jittery, rebellious guitars, a touching song that celebrates life, swallows melancholy and tells of the journey into the unknown with defiant optimism: “You go where nobody knows,” sings Holger Kochs.

The legacy of a band that no longer exists

It is not only in this song that the album proves to be the legacy of a band that no longer exists. Pale had given their last concert more than a decade ago and only got back together three years ago when not only Danganh but also drummer Stephan Kochs were confronted with devastating diagnoses at the same time. That’s why the fifth will be Pale’s last record. It opens with “Wherever You Will Go”, a song that lacks words but still has something stubbornly euphoric about it, and ends with “Someday You Will Know”.

In between, “All The Good Good Things” spreads a spirit of optimism, “Tonight (We Can Be Everything)” turns out to be an indie pop carpediem anthem, the irascible “New York” sounds a bit like the counterpart to Tomte’s “New York”. And at the latest whenever a saxophone joins the stirring song productions, as in “Still You Feel”, Pale sound like Aachen’s answer to the E Street Band. That’s not the only reason why this band will be sorely missed.

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