by Tiana Feng
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Label: Paper Bag Records
For Young Galaxy’s fourth album, Ultramarine, Swedish pop producer Dan Lissvik did his part. However this time, the group actually packed up and went to Sweden instead of working long distance over the internet. Following the direction of Shapeshifting, Lissvik takes it in an even more obvious pop direction that sounds natural and unforced.
This time, Catherine McCandless takes charge as frontwoman instead of sharing that light with Stephen Ramsay. The album begins with “Pretty Boy”, which was previously used as the album’s teaser. It was an understandable choice considering the song’s driving synth line.Following is “Fall For You” where the rhythm turns tribal but the energy is still there as McCandless sings incredibly simple lyrics, “What else can I do, my love, but fall for you?”
The album’s release was timed just right to the warming weather. “New Summer” immediately brightens after a few seconds of dissonance. The lyrics “feels like a dream tonight, a little break in time, as we howl at the moon/hey, it’s a new summer, can we live it, like it’s our last one?” are the perfect soundtrack to the best summer ever. In addition, there’s a weird sense of nostalgia created by the atmospheric layers and harmonic choices. “Hard to Tell” sings a sweet moment of surrender, to fully love someone reiterated in the chorus, “Bring me back to your forest home, and marry me under the trees.”
There’s no doubt Young Galaxy wants you to have a good time as you listen to Ultramarine and perhaps, dance. They take a doctor visit and make it fiery in “Fever” and there’s an incredibly groovy piano part in “Out the Gate Backwards.” “In Fire” reinforces the themes of “New Summer” as McCandless fast-sings in an almost whisper “take our best years to break the fuckin rules, yeah”.
The final tune, “Sleepwalk With Me” romanticizes the notion that though the album is over (and that summer eventually will be) there are the possibilities of exciting things to come as we (and the band) grow up.