“This is a good track apart from the lyrics and the video.”
Tim: Not entirely sure how you’ll feel about this video, Tom (although that might be a lie, because I’m almost certain I know how you’ll feel), but bear in mind it’s only 2 minutes and 48 seconds long.
Tom: This is a good track apart from the lyrics and the video.
Tim: Part of me wants to brush my hands together, smile, turn and walk away and just let you loose on this one with the knowledge that my work here is done, really, but the other part of me wants to argue passionately in favour of this. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of sending a disturbingly anthropomorphised heart to guilt trip your other half into not giving up on you while you’re away, and to grow large and bright when you’re getting ready to see her again? It’s just SO CUTE.
Tom: Mm. I’m not going to rise to the bait, except to say that: songs with references like this date incredibly quickly, and if you have to deliberately mis-emphasise a word to fit the rhyme scheme, perhaps you should just write the song about something else.
Tim: Oh. Can’t deny I’m a tad disappointed, but you’re not wrong.
Tim: Track 2, and I’m not really sure who MAX is or why he deserves the capital letters – he had a track out last year featuring a guy with no capital letters, though, so maybe that explains it.
Tim: It starts out different, more of a funky style…and I’m not sure where I stand. Compared to yesterday, it is both better and worse. Yesterday was, like I said then, very much a trademark Galantis track. There wasn’t much new or entirely interesting there, but it would happily sit on a Galantis Essentials playlist and not sound even slightly out of place.
Tom: Oh, this is so much better than yesterday’s track. I think this is where Galantis really shine — as producers and collaborators, able to elevate someone else’s track and, in turn, to be elevated.
Tim: Well, you’re not wrong in that that chorus elevates it, because I really couldn’t take a song just like the verses. This one takes a few risks, in the sense that it’s different, but also the same – the chorus is your standard stuff, the weird vocal and the decent beats. But as for that verse, hmm.
Tom: It’s great! As is the pre-chorus, but the verse really shined for me. You know why? I was already so far into it by the end of the first verse that I instinctively did a double-clap — at exactly the point where the song puts a double-clap sample in. I was sold. This, to sort-of-quote the KLF, has a Groove.
Tim: Maaaaybe, but now that a large part of the world has moved on from Uptown Funk, the songs that most come to mind for me are Sweden’s dire Eurovision entries of the past couple of years, and this year only three countries came below them in the televote. With it also heading toward the current trend of no middle eight or final chorus to cut away from those…I’m really not all that keen.
Tom: To be fair, you’re right there. For the first time in a very long while, I actually think the track should be longer. It needs a middle eight, it needs a Big Final Chorus. And, despite my initial enthusiasm, I can’t remember the chorus after one listen. That’s not a great sign.
Tim: It’s a disappointing song, and I’m sad about that.
Tom: It’s only disappointing at the end for me. Give me a remix with a Big Chorus and I will be 100% behind this.
Tim: Tonight, Tom, is the final of Love Island, and recently the winner of last year’s Swedish version of that brought out a single, so it’d kind of make sense to feature it. However, it is entirely shit, so I won’t force it on you.
Tom: I can’t work out if I’ve just had my expectations raised and then let down, or literally the exact opposite.
Tim: Instead, let’s hear the new track from Galantis – well, one of them, as apparently even in the streaming video age the double A-side is still a thing, or at least EPs of two songs are. Here’s the first.
Tim: I’ll be honest, it’s tricky for me to review Galantis tracks, because, aside from a short period around the latter half of 2016, as far as I’m concerned they’ve barely put a foot wrong since the launch of Runaway (You & I) back in 2014, they do a phenomenal live show and basically they’re brilliant.
Tim: Right here, we have a track that is very much a trademark Galantis track. It has a decent vocal, it has steel drums, it has the painting on the video with backstage tour footage. It’s a song about success, about making it, about being in a good place despite previous assumptions. It’s a good song, and I’m happy about that.
Tom: “It’s a good song.” “A trademark Galantis track.” I agree: but from you, that’s a genuine endorsement, whereas with me, it’s damning with faint praise.
Tim: Two albums down, and here’s some new music, accompanied by a video with a good few “woah, what did they just do?” moments.
Tim: Personally I feel that parkour peaked with that cold open from The Office, but it’s nice that it’s popping up every now and again just so the lazy amongst us can look at and think “that looks cool, I kind of wish I had the energy to do that”. But that’s not what we here to discuss – the music is. And fantastically, it’s still a good track!
Tom: It is! It’s catchy! It’s well-composed! It’s not dull!
Tim: Tell Me You Love Me was a nice return to form after a couple of iffy bits, and this seems to indicate we’re right back on top. We’ve all the energy that seemed missing from True Feeling, and a properly enjoyable chorus unlike what we had in Girls On Boys.
Tom: To be fair, there doesn’t actually appear to be anything other than a chorus anywhere. I know that’s Galantis’s shtick, but I do wonder if this’ll tire very quickly if there isn’t something to temper it a little. I was simultaneously enjoying it and wanting something different by the end.
Tim: All in all: very pleased with this, and I’m properly happy to be able to call myself a Proper Fan.
Tim: Every time I press play on a new Galantis track, I pray to all the gods I don’t believe in that Galantis will produce another Love On Me, and that my faith in them will be restored…
Tim: And GLORY BE it’s like an early Christmas present, because this is so much more enjoyable for me than any of their other recent tracks.
Tom: That’s a guarded compliment — I agree, but I’d love to hear why you phrased it quite like that.
Tim: It’s not as good as Love On Me, obviously – I’d rather a less disjointed instrumental chorus, and I’m still not satisfied with any track that skimps on a middle eight and a closing chorus – but it’s close enough to make me happy, very happy.
Tom: The chorus parts where it goes to complete silence are a bit unpleasant to listen to, but yes: this sounds like Galantis are back on form.
Tim: To be honest, parts of it are so close to Love On Me that I kind of suspect a copy and paste job, but never mind – like I said, I’m happy, and reassured.
“Everything’s great about this apart from the chorus.”
Tom: “We been waiting to throw you this curve ball!”, write Galantis excitedly. “It’s a style of song-writing that’s been a part of Galantis from the start but we never really had the chance to show you.”
Tim: It normally gets me nervous when bands I like say that; on the other hand, they’ve not exactly been knocking it out of the park recently, so I’m open minded.
Tom: (A warning for flashing images in the video.)
Tom: Here’s a reversal of the usual status quo around here: I think everything’s great about this apart from the chorus.
Tim: While I think it’s time to realise that Galantis are not the dance music saviours I previously believed them to be 🙁
Tom: The intro, the verses, the build, the vocals, everything about this has so much promise — but then it leads into a bassless, repetitive instrumental chorus hook, complete with that irritating precussion that sounds like someone’s failing to light a gas hob.
Tim: Haha, yes, I hear the one you mean. I’m the same – sounds great, right up through the opening, verse, pre-chorus, but then it’s not really good at all.
Tom: I get that instrumental choruses are a thing these days, but this just doesn’t work for me.
Tim: I can’t help wondering what’s so ‘curve ball’ about it – it doesn’t sound particularly different from their other recent disappointments. OH GALANTIS, WHY MUST YOU ABANDON ME SO?
Tim: Galantis here using the appalling cheap and lazy tactic of using tour footage for their music video, but just this once I don’t care, because (a) the London leg of their current tour was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve been to, so this is lovely to watch and (b) they have at least done effects and stuff with it.
Tom: And every “old VHS” off-the-shelf filter in the book. That’ll get old at some point, but not yet.
Tim: Another thing the video did, the first time I heard it at least, was help me not notice the fact that, actually, there’s not a whole lot going on in the song, is there?
Tom: There never is, but at least they usually do “not a whole lot” with way more enthusiasm than this.
Tim: There’s a big ramp up at the end of each vocal chorus, but then the big drums drop out and leave us with the steel drums and marimba beats.
Tom: Also, and I realise this is a really specific complaint, that static-whoosh effect they’re using instead of the stock “euphoric build” effects is difficult to listen to.
Tim: Oh, that is specific, and I see where you’re coming from, but that doesn’t bother be so much.
Tom: I mean, sure, the rest of the instrumentation’s good, I guess.
Tim: Yeah, and I think “it’s good, I guess” kind of sums up the track. I certainly prefer the style to many of the more recent tracks, but it doesn’t change the fact that the song doesn’t actually do much. And that’s a big shame.
“This can be summed up quickly: it’s a bit of a mess.”
Tim: GIG DROP: I saw Galantis on Saturday night, and as I write this on Sunday afternoon I am still on something of a high from it as it was the best gig I’ve been to in a long long time. Here is their current track.
Tim: This can be summed up quickly: it’s a bit of a mess.
Tom: Yep. By one minute in, it’s pretty much shot its bolt; it’s just doomed to repeat those sections twice, and squeeze a middle eight in there somewhere.
Tim: It doesn’t really ever settle down into one particular groove, but instead flits from style to style – the vocal is regular in some parts, distorted upwards for others and way down low for others. Musically it can just about squeeze into the broad tropical spectrum, but it’s pushing at the edges each and every way trying to get out and jumping around in between. Video reinforces this, veering between typical lyric video, standard filmed stuff, cartoons, pictures flashing around. Utter mess.
Tom: Full marks to the designer for putting all that together, though; that’s a lot of effort and time for a lyric video.
Tim: And yet despite all that: it works. For all the messiness, it’s got a good tune, a decent chorus, and is still pretty catchy. So many reasons that this shouldn’t work, and yet it does. It’s good.
“Managing the fans’ expectations is never an easy thing.”
Tim: Our reader James points us in the direction of this, Galantis’s new track which he reckons doesn’t sound particularly Galantissy.
Tim: And he’s partly right, I think – it certainly doesn’t come with the high-pitched vocal that’s often present, but on the other hand the steel drums and other instrumentation that we might associate with Galantis are all there.
Tom: Having “a style” is a blessing and a curse: when the audience gets bored with it, how do you move on? Managing the fans’ expectations is never an easy thing. Here, sadly, Galantis’ unique style seems not to have changed, but have just… fulled.
Tim: It certainly doesn’t stop me liking it just as much as I’ve liked previous output – well, not quite as much as Peanut Butter Jelly or Love On You, obviously, but certainly on a par with the rest.
Tom: That’s true: they do have the One Big Song. This really feels like an album track.
Tim: TOM! I’m so happy, because guess what genre the best released song of last Friday ventures into?
Tom: Rather brilliantly, this has the full lyrics in the description of the YouTube video. They’re four lines long.
Tim: Yes, it’s not the most lyrically complex track around; doesn’t mean it’s not brilliant, though. Galantis have had a few tracks out since Peanut Butter Jelly, but none of them have got me in quite the same way that this does. Hook N Sling is a producer based in L.A.; I don’t know what he brings to the table, but regardless, this song is just so…fun.
Tom: I think this might be because it sounds like a lot of other fun songs. Nothing specific that I can pick out: it’s just like someone handed a CD of fun pop songs to an AI, gave it some steel drums, and went with whatever came out. Actually, in a few years someone will probably be able to do that.
Tim: And it may well sound better than a good number of the songs we hear. Ah, the future. But in the present, I can’t think of a better way to describe this than fun, really – I hear it, I want to dance. As I write this, it’s getting on for eleven p.m. and I have to be awake at half six, but I don’t care. The song’s been on repeat for fifteen minutes, and I don’t want to stop playing it. It’s got a great chorus, and an even better post-chorus.
Tom: That euphoric build out of the middle eight stands out to me: it’s straight out of the textbook. But then if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be in the textbook.
Tim: That quick drum rhythm under “we’ll be singing”? YES WE WILL, AND DANCING.
Tom: Maybe you shouldn’t do these reviews so late at night.
Tim: No, best time, because I get emotional. For example, those steel drum tones almost brought tears of joy to my eyes. Man, imagine if I could drag this ludicrous idea out until Christmas.