Young Galaxy

Ultramarine

Young GalaxyUltramarine
7
Young Galaxy received an icy electronic makeover on 2011's Shapeshifting, courtesy of Studio's Dan Lissvik, and the group opted to stick with the Swedish producer for the follow-up. Unlike their previous collaboration, which was conducted remotely via Skype, the band recorded Ultramarine with Lissvik in Gothenburg, and the results are once again sonically stunning. The lush, rhythm-oriented arrangements are gorgeously constructed, with standout moments including the touches of barroom piano on the funky "Out the Gate Backwards" and the percussive, 16-bit-sounding samples on "Privileged Poor." The focus is the production rather than the songs, and Ultramarine is sadly missing the killer choruses required for a great pop album. Of the melodies, only the wistful "New Summer" and the new age swoon of "Sleepwalk with Me" make a lasting impression. The rest of the songs are largely dark and theatrical, favouring cinematic seriousness over hooks. The fact that the epic-voiced Catherine McCandless has taken over full frontwoman duties (rather than sharing the mic with Stephen Ramsay) adds to the overall sense of drama. Still, Young Galaxy's ever-increasing studio prowess, not the mention the involvement of Lissvik, makes up for the lack of hummable tunes. (Paper Bag)

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