For nearly a decade, Young Galaxy has been a favorite among indie music blogs and fans. Their last two albums, Ultramarine and Shapeshifting, in particular, dazzled with climatic synth-pop, highlighted by songs like “Pretty Boy” and “New Summer”. Despite this acclaim, the Montreal group has opted to change course.
Whereas Ultramarine and Shapeshifting were contemporary even forward-looking albums, Young Galaxy’s latest album, Falsework, is retrospective. The record is undeniably etched in the smooth melodies of ’70s-era Swedish disco and pop and the electro-pop of the ’80s. The influences of Devo, ABBA, Pet Shop Boys, and New Order are heard throughout and immediately, such as the stuttering and trippy opener, “Wear Out The Ground”, and the cool, summery wave of “The Night Wants Us To Be Free”.
But just as you think they’re going to travel far into the realm of bell bottoms and perms, they add a modern spin to the disco era with “Factory Flaws”, a lush, body-swaying number that sprinkles in the beats and flourishes of today’s electronic scene. The dance-vibe continues with “Body” – a darker, electro-pop tune that is shrouded in the hypnotic nature of Kraftwerk’s and Depeche Mode’s trailblazing combination of industrial. electronic, and pop-rock – and “Little Wave” – which comes closest to recapturing their anthemic brilliance of “Pretty Boy”.
There are moments in the album, however, where you feel you’re walking through the hazy, melodic pop of the ’70s and early ’80s, such as on “Ready to Shine” and the love ballad “We’re No Good”. And while the band teeters on the edge of the cheesiness of those eras on these two tracks, they never do go over the edge in terms of over-dramatic power chords or unnecessary synths and keyboards. The songs set up the brilliant finalle, “Pressure”, a sensual and captivating pop tune that might have one recalling Roxette – a fitting comparison and ending to an album that sees a band undertake a remarkable transformation.
Young Galaxy are Stephen Ramsay, Catherine McCandless, and Matthew Shapiro.
Falsework is out now via Paper Bag Records. Purchase it at the label’s store, iTunes (US/CAN), Amazon (US/CAN), and eMusic. You can also listen to it in its entirety on SoundCloud. The album was recorded in Montreal and Gothenberg, Sweden with Dan Lissvik acting as producer.
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