Young Galaxy – Ultramarine

An ethereal essence permeates out through Ultramarine, Young Galaxy’s most recent release. It’s as if the album is a ship while the music, created mostly by synthesizers, drum machines and the like, act as a sonic nebula, engulfing the listener in the interstellar aural space dust that are the tracks. There is a minimalism throughout the album that helps create and maintain this atmosphere. All the while McCardless’ warm vocals ground us in earthly sates of affairs and emotions ensuring that we don’t stray too far into the ether. This is the great juxtaposition that consistently plays itself out over the album and it works very well. 

While synth heavy albums can create beautiful walls of sound, they also have the capacity to be too busy and messy - sounds overlapping sounds as if at a party where conversations swallow conversations resulting in an ever-increasing wail in the room. However, Young Galaxy avoids this mess by creating breathing room between the pulsing sounds and allowing space for the lyrics and vocals to really shine through.

The album doesn’t take off so much as it begins in full flight with “Pretty Boy” which is engaged in a hypnotic jaunt through rolling synth sounds. “New Summer” takes us on more of an emotional ride as the track begins almost downtrodden, but the chorus uplifts with pulsing music and smooth vocals pushing us through to a more sublime place.

We then get dance heavy tracks like “Fever” and the 80s influenced “What We Want” that help shake things up. The album ends with the dreamy “Sleepwalk With Me”, a track that acts as a soft landing bringing us back down to earth.

From start to finish this is a stellar album. It’s a ticket to a wonderful experience and you need only close your eyes and take off as McCardless sings “So meet me by the river / Let’s go for a ride / With the windows down and the stereo loud.”