The following was originally published on Exclaim.ca.
By Jessica Lewis
If anything, Invisible Republic is a place of relief and possibilities for Montreal dream pop group Young Galaxy. After splitting from popular label Arts & Crafts, losing a handful of members, gaining a few more and learning how to live through personal problems such as divorce, disease and various opinions on the music industry, this album rises out of the ashes as a nice spot to catch a breath and rest one’s mind. It has an exploding pop atmosphere but it’s more rejuvenating than exhausting. Packing in overlapping layers of ghostly, echoing vocals, powerful guitar and bass, and keyboards and string arrangements paired with strong, commanding drums, the band not only create a sound that reflects their moniker but also have fun doing so. The call-and-response singing of couple Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless proves enticing and plays into the notion of pushing the limits towards epic. They let out a cry from the end of one world towards the beginning of another with poetic lyrics and catchy choruses, as in “Destroyer,” “Oh Sister” and “Queen Drum.” As their second release, Invisible Republic is cleaner, more detailed and exciting than their self-titled debut, but that only means a good amount of growth.
Was your initial inspiration for making the record the audience?
Stephen Ramsay: We didn’t want to come off perceived in one angle. We wanted [the new record] to be life-changing music and to make it very grand and all-encompassing, but that’s not all there is to the story with us; we want to push it out of that and show more of ourselves in the process. It wasn’t just Catherine and I but actually involving Max [Henry] in the songwriting and Stephen Kamp and taking it to places that weren’t necessarily comfortable for us. I think that if there’s one rule we have in the band it’s don’t be afraid to fail. Ridicule is nothing to be ashamed of.
How are you doing after the split from Arts & Crafts?
It’s easier for us to think less, in the sense that we don’t need to have it. Like, the record is only coming out in Canada right now, so we can focus on one step at a time much more easily. We’re not as anxious to move beyond what’s immediately in front of us. It will be up to us to determine whether or not it’s going to work or not. (Fontana North)