Montreal band Young Galaxy’s songs remind us of the richness of our universal experiences – from love and loss to despair and hope. Invisible Republic, the band's sophomore release, builds upon founding duo Stephen Ramsay (guitars, vocals) and Catherine McCandless’ (keyboards, vocals) penchant for transforming the mundane into the fantastic – catchy hooks build into epic crescendos, while political and ethical concerns share space with emotional observations.
Invisible Republic is the product of a long musical and personal journey for Ramsay and McCandless, who first burst onto the Canadian music scene in 2007 with their eponymous debut album, which included stunning first single “Swing Your Heartache.” Young Galaxy toured extensively across North America and Europe, playing alongside acts like Metric, The Frames, Death Cab For Cutie, Stars and Peter, Bjorn and John.
The band is rounded out by bassist Stephen Kamp and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Max Henry. While Ramsay and McCandless continue to write most of Young Galaxy’s material, both Kamp and Henry are now permanent additions to the band, who contributed creatively to the new album (Kamp added vocals and keyboards, while Henry co-wrote the track “Pathos” and arranged strings on two songs).
Ramsay and McCandless’ move to Montreal from Vancouver several years ago also played a large part in the couple’s music, taking inspiration from peers in the scene such as Arcade Fire and The Dears. The ten indelible tracks on Invisible Republic were recorded over several months whenever the band was able to book studio time. Having made their first album entirely in the studio, the band decided to take a different approach for the new record, hoping to capture a fresh, live sound without extensive editing or studio trickery.
Invisible Republic showcases a band that has fully come into its own; there’s a new urgency in McCandless’ vocals, bolstered by Ramsay’s swirling melodies. And though their songs often contrast the pain of heartache with the idealism of hopeful dreams, the pair reveals their own unfailing bond through the yin and yang of their music, from their note-perfect harmonies to their complementary lyrics.
Light and dark, connection and loneliness, doubt and optimism – Invisible Republic is the sound of our collective hearts beating in tandem, through both good times and bad. They may be a Young Galaxy yet, but they sing out with an ageless wisdom and tunefulness that bears close listening.
No Art (EP, 2010)
Invisible Republic (2009)
Young Galaxy (2007)
Swing Your Heartache (EP, 2006)
Members since 2007 (McCandless, Ramsay)