Released alongside a trippy video directed by Michael Hili – with creative direction from Jonathan Zawada – the track blends smoky, bass-inflected future house elements with a sharp, driving beat and luminous pop vocals from Cummings.
“This song is about feelings of post-relationship clarity,” Flume said in a statement shared with the track today (February 3). “We wrote the song midway through 2020 while the pandemic was still pretty new. I was really excited about the initial idea but it was only once I got back to Australia in early 2021 and linked up in the studio with MAY-A that the song really came to life.”
Alongside the new track came the announcement of Flume’s forthcoming third album, ‘Palaces’. Following up on 2016’s ‘Skin’ – as well as the ‘Hi This Is Flume’ mixtape that landed in 2019 – the record is due out on May 20 via Transgressive Future Classic and features collaborations from the likes Damon Albarn, Caroline Polachek and LAUREL, as well as local names like Kučka and Emma Louise.
In an interview with triple j, Flume explained that he’d spent the last two years working on ‘Palaces’ from a small town on the New South Wales coast, where the Sydney native had relocated to (having lived in LA since for much of the past decade) at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His surroundings inspired the record both in concept and theme, as Flume told the station: “I called it ‘Palaces’ because I felt like when I returned home… It felt like my palace. Felt like I had a lot of clarity, felt much more grounded, living a really simple life. That’s when all the music came together.”
Flume went on to day that returning to “the motherland” and “spending some quality time” there was “really good for [his] creative process”. He continued: “COVID will get you out of that work/hustle grind. It was definitely a realisation [that] mental health is really important. That’s something I hadn’t put as my highest importance, I just put working above all else for so long.”
Musically, the artist said that ‘Palaces’ covers “a whole spectrum of stuff, from more pop-leaning to weird stuff”. triple j also teased that the album features samples of the local wildlife Flume was surrounded by in the making of it, which is evident in the ‘2022’ teaser that landed at the start of the year (which we now know samples the record’s title track).
Last month, Flume was announced – alongside the likes of King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, The Avalanches and The Chats – as one of the many Australian artists set to perform at this year’s Coachella. There, he’ll bump shoulders with acts like Kanye West, Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Megan Thee Stallion, Disclosure and 21 Savage.
Take a look at the cover art and tracklisting for ‘Palaces’ below:
1 Highest Building (ft. Oklou)
2. Say Nothing (ft. MAY-A)
4. ESCAPE (w/ Quiet Bison, ft. Kučka)
5. I Can’t Tell (ft. LAUREL)
6. Get U
7. Jasper’s Song
8. Only Fans (ft. Virgen Maria)
9. Hollow (ft. Emma Louise)
10. Love Light
11. Sirens (ft. Caroline Polachek)
13. Palaces (ft. Damon Albarn)
Meanwhile, MAY-A was recently named on The NME 100 for 2022, with writer Nick Levine saying: “The 19-year-old display[s] a rare gift for writing super-catchy and emotionally literate indie-pop bangers. ‘Apricots’, a wrenchingly tender song about getting to grips with your sexuality, deserves to become a Gen Z queer anthem.”
After taking out #101 on triple j’s Hottest 200 of 2021, Cummings will embark on a three-date east coast tour in May. Tickets are on sale now through the singer’s website, with shows lined up in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.