Galaxians - Chemical Reaction
Stargaze - STARGAZE003
For their sophomore album, Chemical Reaction, Galaxians have stripped back the music and pumped up the vocals. Emma Mason's unstoppable voice elevates the group to a fully-formed musical act. This new LP is all about her voice.
Mason's powerhouse vocal on the West End Records-inspired Chemical Reaction beckons you onto the dancefloor. Jed Skinner's bright and breezy synth melodies allow the song to really breathe, whilst Sam Bell's front-and-centre conga groove (straight out of Double Exposure's My Love Is Free) and Matt Woodward's intricate rolls ramp up the track's energy and momentum. The shorter Mama Ghetto Vogue Edit is brought to life by Darren Pritchard, vogue dancer and mother of Manchester's House of Ghetto, who meets a neon wonderland in the electrifying video.
Elsewhere on the album, Heartbreaker champions female empowerment and personal freedom over a pounding boogie groove. It's a tight arrangement which drops into a delay-drenched Levanesque drum break before crescendoing back into a final chorus via one of Skinner's trademark JX-3P synth solos.
On the proto-house funk of Fight For Love, where Emma flexes her vocal chords to jaw-dropping effect, a failing relationship is thrust into the spotlight over a punchy Linn Drum groove. On the silky shuffle of after-hours jam Work It Out, which brings to mind the classic Sly & Robbie Compass Point productions, Emma croons about a lover, her voice cast in a softer, more subdued glow. Heat of the City sizzles with the essence of an urban summer, and is peppered with heart-stopping hand claps.
Third single Horizon sees the band in more reflective low-key mode, and could be their minor hit of the summer. There's some neat drum programming here, intertwined with Woodward's intricate fills and hi-hat playing.
On Not The Money, Mason's vocal shifts to a lower register in the mid-section, bringing to mind Grace Jones at her most commanding.
All in all it's a life-affirming experience, one born out of a sense of community and collaboration. Seven years on from their early explorations Chemical Reaction sees Galaxians retain sight of the principles that make their output, and dance music as a whole, so vital - commonality of experience, singular moments shared by a crowd, and rhythm as the best medicine.