Love and time help to spawn Young Galaxy’s spacey sound
You might argue Young Galaxy fits its namesake’s scientific definition: A new formation of Stars and other cosmic matter that took years to evolve.
What began as a seven-year friendship in 1995 between Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless grew into a marriage, out of which flourished the Montreal-by-way-of-B.C. dream-pop group. The band progressed almost as gradually as the relationship; Ramsay was playing guitar for Stars while little by little writing his own songs, laying the foundations of what would be YG’s self-titled debut. Co-produced with The Besnard Lakes’ Jace Lasek and featuring a cameo from Polaris Music Prize winner Patrick Watson, the disc dropped last April on Arts & Crafts.
As many side, solo and side-to-the-solo efforts many signed to Broken Social Scene’s Toronto-based label have (and you can go cross-eyed keeping track of them all), don’t confuse Young Galaxy as one of them. His time amicably up with Stars, Ramsay devoted himself to the project he now helms with his wife.
“My experience with Stars was as a hired member,” says Ramsay, back home after a European tour. “So I knew the limitations of what that’s like in that you can’t exist on the periphery forever without really wanting to branch out and do your own thing.”
Perhaps it’s the high comfort level between Ramsay and McCandless that gives Young Galaxy its introspective esthetic, often compared with Morrissey or Slowdive. The pair hashed out the atmospheric ensemble, fuzzy guitars and scrutinizing poetry, a process — addressed on the disc’s lead song Swing Your Heartache — of self-exploration and candid expression Ramsay says would be impossible without his better half.
“It allows you to be a little more brave in your decisions,” Ramsay says. “If your partner is with you in the writing process, you have someone you can bounce them off of. And if it’s someone as close as Catherine is to me, I don’t feel any fear in putting out a wild idea or being misunderstood.”