For better or worse, Young Galaxy has jumped ship from prestigious Canadian indie label Arts&Crafts due to creative differences. One wonders if Stars maxed out the label’s quota for celestial-themed indie bands fronted by a male-female duo. Young Galaxy’s self-titled debut, despite having a Canadian rock radio hit in ‘Outside the City’, didn’t get the attention I felt it deserved, particularly since it released on the aforementioned label, so I found it interesting that their sophomore disc would be a reinvention of sorts. Newly independent, with their first recording as a full band, Young Galaxy has something to prove. Founding duo Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless take this opportunity to create a record that strays away from the introversion of their debut to create something a bit more outreaching.
More concise than its predecessor, which ran long at times, Invisible Republic aims for a more live-based sound rather than excessively using studio techniques. The result is an album with a bit more immediacy and focus. Similar themes of hope and heartache are present, but I miss the extended floaty feeling of their previous work. ‘Light Years’ is the closest thing present here. Other songs veer into territory occupied by any number of forgotten new wave bands, particularly ‘Smoke and Mirror Show’.
McCandless’ vocals on this album rub me the wrong way. There’s a weird vibrato quality to her voice that was likely smoothed away in the heavier production of the debut. It’s most noticeable in ‘Long Live the Fallen World’, the opening track. She fares better taking a supporting role on songs such as ‘Dreams’. Apart from that, there’s not a lot of material that’s particularly memorable here. It feels like a retread of things that have been done before by other bands. I respect the band for having the courage to leave their label, but I don’t expect this album to win over many new fans.
Tags: Young Galaxy