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Young Galaxy

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Album Review

In the new millennium, Canadian label Arts & Crafts has become a kind of hipster-fodder supplier, harboring artists like the Dears, Feist, Broken Social Scene, and Phoenix among others, so newbies Young Galaxy definitely have the necessary backing credentials to propel them into indie stardom. However, the band — made up of ex-Stars touring guitarist Stephen Ramsay and his girlfriend Catherine McCandless, plus their backup musicians — unfortunately don't offer much of their own musical innovation to make their self-titled full-length debut especially interesting, or even notable. Almost all the tracks on Young Galaxy rely on heavily-effected guitars, spacy keyboards, and echoey vocals to create the group's slow, warm, full sound (the exception is the out-of-place singer/songwriter-ish "Embers," one of two tracks sung predominantly by McCandless), but the band seems to be so focused on delaying and reverbing their chords and layering their voices that they forget that occasional key or tempo changes are necessary to make an album more than just atmospheric background. Neither Ramsay nor McCandless are particularly inspiring lyricists, and because of this they too often slip into simple rhymes and clichés. It's not like this in unavoidable; the Dears, for example, are able to combine drama and musicality, emotion and creativity, pushing towards the edge but never falling over it, but Young Galaxy neglect these things, and get so tied up in their own purpose, their own statement, that they forget the actual product has to be something truly worth listening to. The melodies are commonplace and remarkably similar to one another, and everything is so slow and dragging that it's hard to get through, it's hard to pay attention to, and it's hard to want to. Maybe Young Galaxy will form and define themselves in time, but until then, it's better to look elsewhere for stars.


Formed: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Ex-Stars touring guitarist Stephen Ramsay founded space rock outfit Young Galaxy with girlfriend Catherine McCandless. The two got started in Vancouver and relocated to Montreal to live and record. They were brought on board Stars' label, Arts & Crafts, and released an EP and limited-edition 7". With a live lineup in place, Young Galaxy toured with the Dears in fall 2006. In April 2007 the band presented a self-titled debut album featuring contributions from the Dears, the Besnard Lakes, Stars, Patrick...
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