Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Galaxie 500 - On Fire

This is the second album released by Dream Pop trio Galaxie 500 from Cambridge, Massachusetts.They specialize in dreary vocals and compact recordings, utilizing the electric guitar to the best of standards. Everything about this band is masked in great atmosphere and eventful bass riff's, they were one of the best studio bands released three extremely good albums, On Fire being scripted and displayed as the better of the three.

As we start listening to the album, you can hear detailed bass playing and slow, but steady drumming which eventually elevates as the song progresses, where the vocals take place in glory. It's catchy and pleasing to hear, with a well played guitar solo at the end which just closes the opening track in the wall of sound texture.

Tell Me is masked in the same guitar drones and vocals as Blue Thunder. With great lyrics and reference to The 13th Floor Elevators song, Slip Inside This House.The drumming is very content in this song, but as everything explodes it does become more visible. For a three member band, this material is extremely full, it sounds full, which is something i crave for in music. You can hear a great acoustic guitar being played at certain points in the song, i want to say chorus... but it's not a traditional chorus as such.

On Fire was released in 1989 which is to this day, 22 years ago. I'm only mentioning this because the songs haven't aged one bit. They sound just as fresh as they did during those last few years in the 80's. An example being the thirds track, Snowstorm. Which alike the previous two, has the same guitar effects and style, but the vocal is far more clear and is the focus for the song. This song is magnificent, the dynamics are exactly what you want to hear and the guitar work is outstanding from start to finish, it doesn't get repetitive, it builds up, the vocals become an instrument and the pace picks up, it's truly a remarkable track. You don't actually realize that the guitar solo and ending lasts approximately 2 and a half minutes.

Strange is a hard hitting track which reminds me of Christmas for some reason, the high pitched vocals work well with the faster pace which the band uses on this track. The guitar work is again perfect, with great use of reverb, it isn't filled with reverb, it just has the right amount to give it that edge. When Will You Come Home is also another fast paced song, you cant help but notice the use of two guitar chords for the electric guitar which form the base for these songs. The bass is really good and changes as the album changes, the drumming also reaches my expectations. This song has an ecliptic ending with another thunderous guitar solo.

The songs follow a basic pattern, but the production quality and overall skill by the band show through immensely well. The drumming could be improved in places, but that's the drumming for this kind of music. This is slowcore in a sense, but it isn't as slowcore as say Low, it has some hard hitting shoegaze aspects, but in general it's a sweet melodic Dream Pop album from the 80's. 

The back half of the album isn't as strong the first, the 'singles' are all located on the first half. The second half has a faster pace and has a bigger focus on the bass and drumming, with a huge emphasis on the songs, unlike the first tracks which have lean towards guitar and song structure. Plastic Bird is filled with sound and the vocals are a little hidden by the bass and drumming. 

Isn't It a Pity is the final song on the album, which is a George Harrison cover. It's extremely slow and melodic, with the guitar becoming extremely delirious towards the end. The guitar solos really do make this album something special. They feature all over the place, the song structure is fantastic and the dynamics are just utterly brilliant in places. For an album released in the 80's, it's something special. Even today i can listen and imagine it being released this year, it's fresh and it's original. If you have the Bonus Tracks, you are in for a treat. A cover of Joy Division's Ceremony features, which is gripping. Dream Pop is a special genre to me, Galaxie 500 find themselves in this genre and this album is one of, possibly even.. the best album of the 80's.