Finding beauty in the everyday may sometimes be a tricky task, but the best art does just that holds up a mirror to the small yet significant details that make up our lives. In an era where the world seems to move at warp speed and incisive reflection is limited to the latest blog post, Montreal band Young Galaxy's songs remind us of the richness of our universal experiences from love and loss to despair and hope.
Invisible Republic, Young Galaxy's sophomore release, builds upon founding duo Stephen Ramsay (guitars, vocals) and Catherine McCandless' (keyboards, vocals) penchant for transforming the mundane into the fantastic catchy hooks build into epic crescendos, while political and ethical concerns share space with emotional observations.
Our mandate for this record was: if it doesn't make you move, it better make you cry, quips Ramsay. Even better is making someone cry and dance at the same time. It makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but I like it!
Invisible Republic is the product of a long musical and personal journey for Ramsay and McCandless, who first burst onto the Canadian music scene in 2007 with their eponymous debut album, which included stunning first single Swing Your Heartache. Following extensive touring across North America and Europe that saw Young Galaxy play alongside acts like Metric, The Frames, Peter, Bjorn and John, Death Cab For Cutie, and Stars, touring members of the band returned to various other concerns, leaving only bassist Stephen Kamp alongside Ramsay and McCandless.
Multi instrumentalist Max Henry has since joined the Young Galaxy fold, and drummer James Lynn rounds out the band's live lineup.
Invisible Republic showcases a band that has fully come into its own there's a new urgency in McCandless' rococo vocals, bolstered by Ramsay's swirling melodies. And though their songs often contrast the pain of heartache with the idealism of hopeful dreams, the pair reveals their own unfailing bond through the yin and yang of their music, from their note-perfect harmonies to their complementary lyrics.
Light and dark, connection and loneliness, doubt and optimism Invisible Republic is the sound of our collective hearts beating in tandem, through both good times and bad. They may be a Young Galaxy yet, but they sing out with an ageless wisdom and tunefulness that bears close listening.