Young Galaxy has returned to indie’s roots. After splitting with hip Toronto label Arts & Crafts, the Montreal quartet has produced its own second recording, Invisible Republic. It has punchier sound, luscious orchestration, and more focused songs than their self-titled 2007 debut.
Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless, the band’s founding couple, explain how in recording Invisible Republic, they remastered their creative process.
“It was a very different experience from writing the first album,” says Ramsay, while patio-sitting at Toronto’s Black Bull Tavern. “The first recording was done before we ever played any shows. Over time those songs morphed and changed on stage, still growing. Invisible Republic was recorded after we had already played all the songs live, a lot. So they were mature and ready.”
“Also, we began writing these new songs with less of a definite end in sight,” says McCandless. “Parts and sections came together only after the whole band had been working collectively. They’re more organic to the band.” Stephen Kamp and Max Henry are the other, and much newer, half of Young Galaxy.
Invisible Republic is definitely more fleshed out than the band’s first disc, and more diverse; Dreams highlights Ramsay’s rich baritone, silkily serenading the listener with guitar and violin, featuring indie fiddler Joshua Zubot, while in Queen Drum McCandless croons over shoegazing rock accompanied by an avalanche of drums and keyboards.
The crystalline sound is engineer Tony Doogan’s doing, a Glaswegian indie studio star who has mixed albums by Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, The Pastels, Hefner, David Byrne and Super Furry Animals.
“Tony’s only in his 30s now, but he’s been working in studios since he was 18,” says Ramsay. “He can take the music in any direction, and he’s tough but fair. He’ll force you to make a decision on the spot, and that took some adapting. But with Tony prodding us, our first instincts were usually best.”
Doogan’s contribution adds a degree of indie pedigree to Invisible Republic, and it automatically thrusts Young Galaxy onto a wider stage than is normally graced by such a new independent band.
“It’s been a very public experience, finding our voice,” says McCandless. “We want to contribute to music, to give back to rock and pop history, as a way of thanking all the great bands who wrote those songs we never stopped loving.”
Invisible Republic, a declaration of Young Galaxy’s independence, is now out.
Invisible Republic is the new album from Young Galaxy.