The Young and the Restless

Young Galaxy’s new album is the band’s existential dream-pop best.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

April 09 2013 5:00 AM ET

“Superfoods.” That’s what Young Galaxy’s lesbian drummer, Andrea Silver, says when asked why there are so many hot lesbian drummers. Perhaps that explains her appealing band mates as well. Young Galaxy’s fourth album, Ultramarine (out April 23), was made with electronic producer Dan Lissvik in Gothenburg, Sweden, at Lissvik’s studio — the first one all five musicians “worked on together from beginning to end,” says Silver, who adds that the Montreal-based band members lived together 24/7 for three weeks straight.

“We got up early together, drank our coffee together, walked to the studio together, worked in a small space for eight or nine hours together, ate dinner together and sat in a room in silence on our computers — together,” she says. “To me, this was one of the biggest factors in the whole experience. Add into the equation a personality like Dan and us working in his environment rather than transplanting him into ours. I think we certainly created an ambience that was unlike any other the band had worked in before.”

Silver slyly admits that there were some potentially naughty diversions in Sweden too. “The sun also went down at 10:30 p.m. and there are a lot of beautiful people in Gothenburg, but I guess that was more of a distraction than anything.”

Ultramarine is the Canadian indie band’s best recording yet, a beautifully kinetic, visceral, and oddly intimate collection of electronic pop. With six EPs and four albums under its belt, the band — which began as a duo of Catherine McCandless and (her now-husband) Stephen Ramsay in 2005 — has honed its sound greatly in its current incarnation. For the last couple of years the band’s lineup has included Ramsay, McCandless, and Silver as well as Stephen Kamp and Matt Shapiro.

The album’s first single, “Pretty Boy,” is a modern take on a New Order-esque dance-pop anthem certain to be a summer club mainstay. The whole album is a hybrid of hooky, deconstructed new wave–inspired electronica meets ethereal pop and atypical arrangements. It follows the band’s divergence that began with its 2011 album, Shapeshifting, but you can still feel a little early Pink Floyd inspiration in there from its debut as well.

“We’ve been a solid lineup for about two years now,” says Silver, who adds that joining a “band that had already been hard at work for a number of years was both exciting and terrifying. I had no idea where I would fit in, especially when it came down to writing a new album. In the end, I think Ultramarine does the job of portraying what our band has become over the last two years. What I think you hear on this album is a serious collaboration of ideas and skills that we’ve all come to recognize in each other.”

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