December 12, 2017

Galaxie 500 - On Fire (1989)

Galaxie 500's second and best album, On Fire, came from out of the blue. You can hear minor influences like Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, and Cowboy Junkies, but those only contribute to the supporting sounds and do little to craft the band's own focal point. The exception is that this whole thing was essentially made in the image of the relic Baby Blue cover by 13th Floor Elevators. Still, this sound was very fresh in the 80s and On Fire was a creative oasis to a deep list of 90s alt-rock bands seeking something softer and different from noise rock and grunge. The arrangements are minimal and the album is considered to be the first in the slowcore style. Personally, I don't think that this is the invention of slowcore as a clear-cut sub genre, but it certainly planted all the seeds necessary for that movement to take off. On Fire's greatness stems mainly from its textures, which are derived from both the general engineering process and Galaxie's incredible ability to generate slow and sentimental pieces. The lyrics are apt, charming, and lonely, sporting the same attitude as a young adult pulp novel or romantic comedy. At the same time, some songs are more dedicated to an existential or psychedelic frame-of-mind and this--for me--deepens the bittersweetness a little bit more.


On Fire