Review: Melody Maker 7 October 1989

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GALAXIE 500 have been "much touted" recently. This means that you couidn't throw a brick tonight (still less so if you had already thrown it at The Family Cat) without hitting here a hack, there an A&R man, there a press officer, there some other sundry member of the biz, with little chance of clocking a common, paying civilian. Galaxie 500, I understand, recently played a "secret gig" in Tulse Hill. I pity the poor press officer who had his or her work cut out trying to keep the lid on that one!

Galaxie 500 are a trio - Dean plays guitar and sings, Naomi plays bass and sports a Mary Quant haircut. They are a Boston band but have inherited little of either Throwing Muses or The Pixies' blistering, brainf***ed pace. A Galaxie 500 song proceeds at well within the speed limit, at a more or less invariable 25 mph. Dean's vocals scale heights where the air is thin and he sustains some pleasingly transparent notes. The mood he evokes is one of fragile detachment. These songs do not ache enough. The likes of "Blue Thunder" are melodically austere as if deliberately to try the patience of all but a precious few fanatics, a strict door policy to exclude all but the extremely devotional. Some here appear rapt by Dean's remoteness, still more drift discreetly to the bar.

The off-white monotones of these songs are all too infrequently broken up by pleasingly dextrous guitar solos as welcome as spending sprees during an economy drive. Ultimately, however, the much-feted Galaxie 500 make me feel like I don't belong here. Only a rabid rock fanatic could go, all the way to extract succour from these remote rock regions. If this is what it takes then I am no longer a rock fan. Dean seems like one more painful misfit sheltering in the sanctioned confines of a guitar band. Perhaps he should have got a paper round instead of lying in bed all morning thinking.


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On Fire 30 CD sleeve (design: John Conley)
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