New Release From Archpalatine & Danny
Archpalatine + Danny Newport’s Transition Period EP Review
For the past couple years, Derek Anthony Wilson’s Archpalatine project has been making waves here in Philadelphia. Two years ago, he released his debut album Peter under the name Palatine. After adding “Arch” to the name, he quickly followed it up with last year’s Amalgam, a diverse collection of theatrical rock & soul touching on influences everywhere from Queen to Stevie Wonder.
However, Archpalatine refuses to slow down. His new EP, Transition Period, is out today and he will be taking over The Philadelphia Globe’s Instagram all day along with a live stream performance tonight at 8pm. Transition Period as a record is exactly what it says in the title; a chance for Archpalatine to reflect on his past work while carving out a new avenue for his music in the future.
Wilson has always been a performer with many faces. Peter and Amalgam pushed in many different directions, while always centered around Wilson’s brilliant baritone and exuberant piano performance. He can write lovelorn ballads (“Your Heart” and “Right Or Wrong”) or technical musical flexes (“Fire” and “Rising”). The opening track from Amalgam, “Turbulence,” could be heard on Broadway. His live performances reflect that as well, always high-spirited and adorned with colorful costumes and a cast of collaborators.
Transition Period opens up a new venue for Archpalatine. The EP’s first single “Riding And Rolling,” was an interesting and purposeful decision, mostly because it opens with Wilson’s trademark piano swells and vocal performance before bursting open with 808s and synth hits. “Riding And Rolling” has become something of a new mantra for Archpalatine; even if you keep taking hits, you can’t let them get you down.
“We’ve been to heaven,
We go through hell,
Keep going, only time will tell”
The title track and opening song, “Transition Period,” speaks to the internal strife that comes with not knowing where you are in your current moment. You could say COVID-19 is a transition period for all of us, a turning point in society that makes us take stock of what we have and look forward. “This is a process,” sings Wilson as the music drops out before the bass kicks back in, “push through the endings, spark new beginnings.”
The EP is also a full collaboration with fellow Philadelphian (and Grape Room co-worker) Danny Newport, who assisted on production and pops in to add a vocal touch here and there. Closing track “Way With Words” brings back that classic Archpalatine balladry while fusing it with a more syncopated poetic delivery (think Hamilton meets “Let It Be”). Newport takes a verse too, dropping lines like “I believe in you, do you believe in yourself?”
As an artist, Archpalatine represents a lot of what makes Philadelphia such a great music city. Wilson’s diverse take on genre and musicianship makes Transition Period a great next chapter in his story, paving the way for whatever direction he decides to go in next. “The sun will come out again,” he sings to close out the record, giving hope to an uncertain future.
Transition Period by Archpalatine is out now. Watch him stream live on The Globe’s Instagram tonight at 8pm!
More about the Author: Tyler Asay is a music writer & musician. He is the singer/songwriter for indie-rock band, The Tisburys. He can usually be found at Main Street Music or Dawson Street Pub. Bruce Springsteen is his hero. Twitter | Instagram | Email