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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Track-by-Track: The Galvatrons - Laser Graffiti

Prepare yourself for some gushing, because I have been waiting patiently for this album for over a year now. It does not disappoint. I only wish it was long.

1. And So They Invade... - A short intro, made up of the promise "we're hear to save the world." It definitely sets up the drama that is about to unfold. Choirs collide with synthesizers. Epic. ?/10

2. The First Starfighter - A dramatic, sci-fi inspired beast of a song, this is a definite standout even before it breaks down into a frantic, staccato spaceship-crash story-song. 10/10

3. Cassandra - The album version of this stellar single is given a slightly longer intro and ratchets up the buzzsaw guitars until they duel with Johnny's impassioned vocals. The beginning sounds straight out of the 80's Transformers movie--a definite good thing. Why oh why wasn't this a massive worldwide hit? 10/10

4. We Were Kids - The original single version has been remixed for the album. It ups the synthesizers and vocal processing, plus adds another refrain after the chorus. I can't say it's quite as amazing as the original version, but that's a very very minor complaint because this is one of the band's most iconic songs. 10/10

5. Robots Are Cool - Unlike many of the other tracks, this one hasn't been changed much at all from it's original incarnation. It is definitely the most poppy song on the album, and highlights a different side of the 80's. I've always loved the lyrics and the excellent guitar solo near the end. 10/10

6. Laser Graffiti - The title track is big and brash and really feels like a bunch of laser beams shining directly in your face. The synths are very prominent here and highlight the excellent verses perfectly. The part directly after the first chorus is especially dramatic. The only quibble (and it is very minor) is that the song could've been cut about twenty seconds before the end. 9/10

7. Light Speed - This one reminds me more of big-voiced bands like Journey and Survivor. It is certainly an epic track, with one of the album's strongest choruses, a surging sound, and some very clever lyrics. This one's gotten stuck in my head more than a few times. 10/10

8. Stella - The same problems I had with the original are apparent on the album version. While I LOVE the verses, I still find the hook pretty weak. The pace and instrumentation break up the end of the album nicely, though, and it's still a great track. 8/10

9. She's In Love - A major revision of the original EP version, this one has been turned into a huge synth-thrashing monster. I love the added drama in the chorus. I love the synths, and I'm curious about a few of the changed lyrics and the idea to nix the opening guitar solo (it appears in the middle eight, thank god!). This has always been one of my favorites from the band. 10/10

10. Molotov Cocktail - VERY Van Halen. It mixes Jump and Panama flawlessly, with some catchy-beyond-believe guitar and synth chugs. It is certainly the party track and excels at it. 9/10

11. Galaxy Destroyer - While I do really like this track, I also expected a bit more from the album closer. It's the "slow" track of the album, and feels like it just kinda sits there. The vocals are interesting, and I love the choir (but feel they could have been utilized more) and how the intro repeats itself. But it could have been even better 8/10

Album Grade: 9.4/10

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

"Don't ever surrender"

I am totally in love with the Galvatrons. They are a band built especially for me. The first two songs I was completely obsessed with as a very young child were Europe's Final Countdown and Stan Bush's The Touch (from the original Transformers movie). Laser Graffiti sounds very much like both of those songs, with a good portion of Van Halen's Jump as well. Before listening to the album, I knew every song but two, though it was still amazing to hear them all in their studio versions strung together. One of the songs I hadn't heard was Light Speed, and it's ended up being one of my favorites. It absolutely defines the term "anthem," with an epic, EPIC sounding chorus. Again, it's pretty much built precisely for my taste. The band's taken the album off myspace, but it's one million percent recommended so track it down.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Malena Ernman's album came out recently in Sweden. In case you forgot, she was the winner of this year's Melodifestivalen with her wonderful entry, La Voix. I really want to like the full album more than I do (too many goopy Celine Dion-lite ballads and not enough bombast), but there were some tracks that really hit me over the head the first listen. Sempre Libera is another Kempe track, and a splendid one at that. For all intents and purposes, it's La Voix Part II--totally over the top and all the better for it. There's also a total camptastic dance track on the album called Tragedy. Not sure about that one yet, but it's definitely different. I would've preferred an entire album in the La Voix style of layered operatics over dance beats, but at least we got a few other tracks in that vein.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)