Galantis & Wrabel – The Lake

“Orchestral Galantis sounds like a wonderful idea.”

Tim: No lockdown in Sweden, so Galantis have got themselves a 15-piece orchestra for this one – apparently they’ve got other music ready to go, but this one felt right for the time.

Tom: Huh. Orchestral Galantis sounds like a wonderful idea.

Tim: “I wanted to release something different. Some people said: ‘Everyone wants to be happy,’ but I thought: ‘I need to feel it. I don’t want a big drop right now,'” said Christian, to Popjustice last week.

Tom: I mean, it’s uncomfortably reminiscent of Clean Bandit — that is not a compliment, I am not a Clean Bandit fan — but it’s interesting to see that “sudden appearance of an orchestra” still sorta-qualifies as a drop.

Tim: And yeah, I like that, because to be honest I don’t want a big drop right now either – to get briefly personal, the one time I’ve felt properly down during this whole thing was when guys from work wanted suggestions for a workout playlist and I listened to a load of dance music to find stuff, and it turns out I really do miss going out to bars and clubs and having fun. The titular lake is allegedly a metaphor for that – it’s for whatever we’re looking forward to, getting out, hanging out, doing whatever, though that kind of brings the question: with these lyrics, is the timing really right for this? Shouldn’t it maybe have been held back until there is a house on the lake? I don’t know, maybe it’s just there as a dream, as something to look forward to, to feel wistful about. I’ll take the music, though. The music’s nice.

Tom: It is! I don’t think the birdsong works in there — it’s just a bit too twee. But then, I tend to disparage basically any sound effect in a song, so perhaps I’m just too easily distracted. As a nice, calm Galantis track: yes, I’m glad to see that combining dance music with an orchestra still works.

Tim: It does. And incidentally, if you’re in the market for a Galantis face mask, one can be yours for just £15 plus £2.90 shipping to the UK, which actually works out a bargain compared to Alan Walker – his are a bit cheaper, but he’ll charge you over a tenner for shipping. Disgraceful.

Galantis – Unless It Hurts

“This here is Galantis on the very top of their game, and I am ALL HERE FOR IT.”

Tim: Galantis have got a new album out today, hurrah! And even better, over the past few days, they’ve been putting out lyric videos for multiple tracks. First there was Steel, probably the closest they’ll ever get to releasing a heartfelt ballad; Wednesday gave us Stella, which is entirely okay; and yesterday we got this, probably the second closest they’ll ever get to releasing a heartfelt ballad.

Tom: Those are some Matt Bellamy-quality inbreaths on that first verse. But, uh, well, it doesn’t stay as “heartfelt ballad” for long, does it?

Tim: So, yeah, I say second closest, it’s not really close at all, save for the slightly soppy lyrics and piano-only first verse. (Steel, on the other hand, is thin piano line all the way through to the start of the post-chorus, and boy is it frustrating.) It gets going fairly quickly, though, with that drum build coming along soon enough leading to a good chorus (with a memorable lyric line!) and typically great post-chorus. This here is Galantis on the very top of their game, and I am ALL HERE FOR IT.

Tom: It is! I disagree with the message of the song, but–

Tim: BUT ALSO that might have sounded like a conclusion, but speaking of that lyric line, it’s struck me that it almost goes counter to what I was saying yesterday about dance tunes having meaningful lyrics.

Tom: I mean, they’re not that meaningful, are they? “If I had to hit a train to make you stay”? And like I was saying, I’m not convinced that insisting that love should hurt is really a good message to be sending.

Tim: Sure, this absolutely doesn’t need a press release talking about how it was inspired by a break-up after an ARGUMENT OF EMOTIONAL TORMENT but which should have been put back together but now it’s too late, but the lyrics do work to build up even more to the drop, to sing or shout along to before going nuts with your arms in the air. Or is that just me?

Tom: I think it’s just you.

Galantis feat. Charli XCX – We Are Born To Play

“Having Mario shout ‘here we go’ before the drop is ghastly.”

Tom: This is an advert, Tim, and you know how I feel about giving adverts additional promotion, or even listening to them deliberately. But I get the feeling that if I don’t send this to you, you’re going to send this to me, and I don’t think I can deal with the amount of enthusiasm you’d start this with.


Tom: So yes. Galantis got asked to build a track around the Mario soundtrack, for the upcoming Super Nintendo Worlds that’ll be built at the Universal theme parks over the next decade.

Tom: Let’s get the awful things out of the way first: “power up and go” is an awful lyric, and having Mario shout “here we go” before the drop is ghastly.

Tim: Ghastly? Or brilliant? I think brilliant. You see, I’m going to heavily subvert expectation here, and slightly seriously discuss this thing (I know, sorry), because the way that sounds kind of depends how you look at this: it’s clearly not just written as a promo track, because way too much effort has gone into it, but it’s clearly not a proper dance track, even a ‘stick on the album as a bonus track’ one. And so for the hybrid that this is, I think putting Mario in there works, however ghastly you may find it. 

Tom: Mind you, Galantis don’t appear to have just cashed the cheque on this and churned out a minimal-effort track: they’ve reinterpreted pretty much everything into their style. It’s not actually that bad.

Tim: True, and the first two minutes of this is straight up dance tune: you could take that and the last ten seconds, add some extra stuff in the middle and have a perfectly decent track, if a tad novelty-ish with all the power-up and coin sound effects. That thirty seconds of Mario theme sample, though, changes it, hugely. As a promo it’s now great. Dance track? Yeah, we’re done.

Tom: But obviously: Super Nintendo World will be nothing like this. It’s a Universal Studios park, so it will be a series of rides that bounce you around a bit in front of a 3D screen while you’re occasionally sprayed with water. If they manage anything greater than that, I will be shocked and amazed.

Tim: What, you mean there won’t be actual boxes suspended in the air that you can punch to get coins? DAMMIT, TOM.

Tom: The thing I’m most impressed by here? The video production team. That is movie-quality green-screen work.

Tim: Yep. That’s almost as good as the Mario sample.

Galantis & Dolly Parton feat. Mr. Probz – Faith

“The first thing that stuck out to me here was the structure, or rather the weirdness of it.”

Tim: Galantis, we know very well. Mr Probz, never heard of him before in my life, but sure, he could be a featured artist. And then…and then there’s Dolly Parton. Unusually for me, I haven’t listened to the track before writing this introduction, and have no idea what I’m in for. Fingers crossed it’s good.

Tim: Right: here’s something annoying, about doing this whole music review thing: first time I hear a track, I pay full attention to it, beat by beat, line by line. And that means that the first thing that stuck out to me here was the structure, or rather the weirdness of it.

Sure, the standard verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight, chorus – but the verse is just a few lines, and then the chorus is roughly one single line repeated over and over again for a full minute, each time with slightly different backing underneath it.

It’s like they’re saying “fine, we’ll play by the rules, but boy are we going to struggle against them”. And I have all those thoughts, and even go back to listen to it again to check that, without ever really paying attention to what the song sounds like as a whole. And that’s absolutely and entirely not what a song credited to bloody “Galantis & Dolly Parton” deserves.

Tom: If it’s any consolation, I generally just write a stream of consciousness while I’m listening, and then tidy it all up later. Anyway. The track.

Tim: SO. The main review: it’s weird! Keeping Dolly Parton away for a full fifty per cent of the song!

Tom: And using vocal effects that take her incredibly recognisable voice and it sound like it’s somehow being simulated by an offbrand Dolly-Parton sythesizer!

Tim: Giving the first verse solely to your feat. guy! The lack of any real underlying defining sound, careering between piano house, tropical, light drum & bass, euphoric! Hell, the fact that it’s happening at all! But it’s good! It’s a great listen, for some of these aforementioned reasons, and I like it.

Tom: It sounds like a mashup. It sounds like an old Madeon track. There are so many things going on here. I have issues with the structure: I think you could start this where Dolly Parton comes in, add an extra chorus on the end after that , and have a track that sounds more like Traditional Pop instead of a frankly disappointing ending. But then that’s not really what Galantis do, is it?

Tim: I was entirely unsure what to expect, but I’m glad of what it turned out to be.

Valerie Broussard & Galantis – Roots

“Halfway between a dance-pop song and intro music for a slightly-too-earnest Saturday evening BBC light-entertainment show.”

Tim: For your delectation, a really quite lovely lyric video. And song, now I think about it.

Tim: And that right there is…entirely fine.

Tom: It’s halfway between a dance-pop song and intro music for a slightly-too-earnest Saturday evening BBC light-entertainment show.

Tim: There’s nothing to criticise about it: good melody, decent narrative in the lyrics, nice instrumental work underneath the vocals and a strong beat when we get to the dance post-chorus. It is, in fact, a perfectly serviceable dance tune, with some very good trademark Galantis brass in there. And that’s okay.

Tom: It is! I doubt it’s going to be the song of the summer, but there’s nothing wrong with it.

Tim: Well, yes, though having said that: it’s what I thought the first time I heard it. And then I played it again, and a few other times, as I do when I’m writing these, and now it’s really growing on me – that brass line, for example, with its short repeating notes, sounds lovely. I really like it. So here’s to a grower! It’s great.

Galantis & Yellow Claw – We Can Get High

“True to form, that is entirely not garbage.”

Tim: Just a few days on from their last one, here’s a new collaboration, hurrah!

Tom: They’ve found themselves a pretty good niche: find a good collaborator, work with them on a track, make a good dance tune. I don’t think there are many artists who work like that — DJ Khalid aside. But there’s a chance that this could be by-the-numbers: they’re not all hits, particularly when there’s such a short release schedule between them.

Tim: A fair possibility, but we’ve not had anything that’s complete garbage for quite a long time. Let’s try this one.

Tim: And, true to form, that is entirely not garbage.

Tom: Like the Kygo track yesterday, I wasn’t convinced about this until that build to the chorus.

Tim: Admittedly, the vocal styling might not be fully appreciated by some, as in the wrong place I wouldn’t like them. On the other hand, this is very much the right place for them – stuck just in front of a properly banging post-chorus with a great melody.

Tom: I was surprised by that post-chorus itself, though: on first listen, I thought it seemed a bit spartan and harsh. But by the end of the track: yes, I think this works. I suspect you’ll have the same problem as me, though: no middle eight.

Tim: Well, yes: obviously my usual moan about a lack of middle eight applies here, but I’m increasingly convinced that may be a lost cause, so I’ll just appreciate what I’ve got, simply because it’s very good. Very good indeed.

Galantis x Passion Pit – I Found U

“This is just fabulous.”

Tim: Galantis, I have decided, are firmly back in my good books, and I’m fairly sure I can count on them as reliable. So, how will they perform here, with perhaps not the most obvious of bedfellows?

Tim: Easy answer: brilliantly, because this is just fabulous.

Tom: That’s a really good introduction, isn’t it? I wouldn’t have thought that sort of organ-synth would work in this century, but it does.

Tim: It does, pleasingly, manage to sound just like a Passion Pit track and also just like a Galantis track, though it’s not just the straightforward verse/chorus split we might have been treated to with lesser people in charge. There’s a bit of everybody everywhere, and as such the track flows in and out seamlessly from one part to another, unlike a lot of collaborations.

Tom: Often with collaborations, you feel like one side or the other hasn’t brought their A-game — that they’ve decided to keep the good stuff for themselves. But this really does seem like a joint track: it deserves “×” rather than “feat”.

Tim: And, on top of all that, it sounds good! Great melody, great beat, great production, great…everything. ALL GREAT.

Galantis feat. OneRepublic – Bones

“It’s good! Like, really really good!”

Tim: It’s almost sad when a new release from your previous favourite brings a sense of trepidation rather than excitement; this got released last Friday.

Tom: I remember when you used to send every Galantis track with enthusiasm. Don’t get me wrong, I think Satisfied is a great track — it grew on me despite those initial reservations — but yeah, they’ve been suffering from regression to the mean recently.

Tim: It’s good! Like, really really good!

Tom: That’s because that millennial-whoop chorus is straight from Owl City’s Good Time!

Tim: Oh, yes, so it is. That maybe plays a part in it, then.

Tom: As ever, I don’t think it’s deliberate, but it’s all I can think about while I’m listening.

Tim: I’m guessing it’s just Ryan from OneRepublic and the rest is all Galantis, and those drumbeats and massive brass melody all work together so well, along with all the twiddling samples in the backing.

Tom: It goes on for one chorus too long, but, sure, it’ll… it’ll do, I guess.

Tim: I don’t know if it’s just relief, but I’m fairly sure this is their best work since Love On Me, and I’m so happy about that, I really am.

Saturday Flashback: Sam Smith – Too Good At Goodbyes (Galantis Remix)

“Still a largely dull track, but there are significant improvements”

Tom: I’m assuming you know the original Too Good At Goodbyes, Tim.

Tim: Correct. As with much of Sam Smith’s output, it is dull, tedious, insipid garbage, albeit slightly redeemed by the backing choir in the chorus and middle eight.

Tom: In which case, you should get ready for the biggest case of pop mood-whiplash you’ve had in a while. Because Sam Smith’s sad, slow, soppy song is about to become a BANGER complete with a euphoric build that sounds like a washing machine spinning up.

Tim: That…that is an unusual yet entirely correct description of that euphoric build.

Tim: It’s still a largely dull track, but there are significant improvements – not least, chopping over a minute off the runtime.

Tom: Here’s the thing: I have no idea how, but I’d managed to miss the original Too Good At Goodbyes entirely. I just, somehow, never heard it. So when I heard this on the radio somewhere, I remembered the name of the track, searched for it later, and found the original instead of this. It was one of the most disappointing listens I’ve ever had.

Tim: Whereas this is…well, still one of the most disappointing Galantis listens I’ve ever had, but it’s still better than the original.

Galantis feat. Sophia Carson – San Francisco

“It’s good! I like it! That’s unusual! “

Tim: This slipped me by when it came out last month because it was the Friday before Christmas, but here it is – Galantis’s latest, featuring the same singer who was on Alan Walker’s latest track as well. Coincidence? Very probably.

Tom: That’s the best introduction and first verse I’ve heard in a while. Full marks for having the confidence to use just a vocoded acapella: with a bad melody that would have completely killed the track. But it’s good! I like it! That’s unusual!

Tim: So, Galantis haven’t had a proper hit since Love On Me, the brilliant track that came out…a little over two years ago. I would argue that’s a shame, but then I think back and much as I typically very much enjoy their output – it’s not exactly memorable, is it? I think this kind of demonstrates why.

Tom: That’s harsh but not entirely untrue. I really did enjoy this track, almost as much as I still enjoy Satisfied. But I think it’s fair to say that given both tracks are about two and a half minutes, Galantis knows exactly how long people will want to listen to their tracks for. That repetition of “San Francisco” got old on a second listen. But hey, at least I gave it a second listen.

Tim: It’s okay, it’s standard as Galantis fare seems to go nowadays…but it’s not anything really special. I miss that, really, I do.