by Dan Gibson
First things first, you should enter to win a pair of tickets to see Young Galaxy open for Junior Boys Sunday at Plush. It's as easy as logging in (assuming you have a login to our site, which you should, so you can leave witty comments and such) and we'll draw a winner on Friday.
Now, I liked Montreal's Young Galaxy's first two albums as nice bits of dream-pop. Nothing too notable, but they were a band I enjoyed hearing come up on Pandora or on an extensive shuffle of my iTunes library.
However, listening to their new album Shapeshifting after hearing that they were opening for Junior Boys, I was just blown away. Young Galaxy didn't abandon their sound, or try to turn into a new band, but it's like they decided to come at things from a bigger, more ambitious perspective. Shapeshifting, as a collection of songs, just sounds important.
And it's not really a coincidence. Talking to Stephen from the band, the group wanted to continue to evolve, partially from necessity (there were some lineup changes) but also just to not stay stagnant. As part of that, they decided to assemble the album in an interesting way: Young Galaxy worked on the initial versions of the song, then sent the tracks digitally to Sweden where Dan Lissvik of the quite excellent group Studio worked on them as a producer, then they collaborated via Skype to create the finished product.
In a way, it doesn't really matter how the album was put together. What matters is how it sounds, how it makes you feel, but what makes this new album better than Young Galaxy's previous work is how their ambition comes across. Maybe it's the overall dramatic/romantic feel of the album, but the group's artistic drive comes through. Shapeshifting might end up being my favorite album of 2011 and while I was already excited to see Junior Boys, I can't wait to see how Young Galaxy pulls off this newer material live.