On the follow-up to their excellent 2015 debut, Boston indie rock trio Palehound turn decidedly inward as frontwoman Ellen Kempner meditates on the navigation between loss and love. Recorded in late 2016 by longtime collaborator Gabe Wax, A Place I'll Always Go presents a more tonally subdued though no less inspired approach for Kempner's talents as she delivers a poignant set informed by the loss of her grandmother, the sudden death of a close friend, and the thrill of beginning a new relationship. The combined emotional cocktail of grief and romance is enough to send any right-minded individual into a spiral of confusion, but Kempner explores her condition with the same warmth and craft that drew fans to Palehound's debut, letting the anxious feelings play out against a backdrop of fuzzy hooks and tuneful, '90s-indebted indie rock. From the wounded psychedelic swirl of "Hunter's Gun" to the hazy tribute "Turning 21," her ruminations are at once personal and relatable, getting to the gut of the matter with her own brand of poeticism. Perhaps the most arresting point of Kempner's journey is the penultimate track, "Feeling Fruit," a gently devastating ballad about the strangeness of re-emerging into the public world. Its descriptions of wandering the lush produce aisles after "weeks of frozen meals" set up dreamy closer "At Night I'm Alright with You," which ends the album in a place of peace.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger