Music Reviews

Young Galaxy Shapeshifting

(Paper Bag) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

Young Galaxy are plowing the fields of reinvention here, but they’ve not abandoned the Cocteauvian dreaminess that’s consistently marked their work. This is synth-ridden and vampy stuff — it’s utilitarian dream pop replete with electronic beats, and it’s all been splashed out on a clean slate.

Young Galaxy is revitalized by a clean, approachable dream pop and sensible approaches sitting at the fore of the album. An electronic outlook sets Shapeshifting, their third full-length, apart from their previous two efforts. Similarly, it draws on the dream pop classics without being utterly derivative, but distinct stylistic shifts have added enough freshness to keep interest afloat.

Young Galaxy sought enough adventure to craft out a consistent, intriguing album that brings some new elements for the group into play. Shapeshifting represents a distinct stylistic shift away from some more "traditional" dream pop elements — this lacks those thick waves of sound and the definition-bearing obfuscation, but a bit of cleverness and ingenuity keeps things moving forward. Shapeshifting edges toward the core of a new iteration of the genre: one that exists in contraposition to some of the fuzzier movements that have sprung in recent years.

The band would do well to add in twists that would transform this album from good to great — there are many undeniably fine moments, but none set Shapeshifting as unusually laudable. Still, to that end, the album flows extremely well — it’s never hung up on ideas that don’t come off or moments that don’t hit staggering heights. It’s not as if Young Galaxy lacks ambition — the band just needs that little boost to push on to the next level.

Shapeshifting isn’t just something from which to go forward; it’s an absolute success in everything it tries. I only wish Young Galaxy had pushed a bit more, because there’s no doubt that this could have been so much more.