Review: This is Our Music - NME 1990

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This Is Our Music (Rough Trade LP/Cassette/CD)

LISTEN, THE dawn is breaking. Almost imperceptibly, crisp sunlight creeps across the frosty soundscape of Galaxie 500, causing the gently strumming American trio to stir from their hibernation. Stretching talented little arms, they decide the world is ready for their third album.

Except for recent single 'Fourth of July', a fine mid-tempo rumble of scorched thunder, every track unfolds in trademark slow motion. Eight sonic equivalents of a '70s wax lamp, at once mesmerising and monotonous, timelessly beautiful yet oddly nostalgic, pulsating with psychedelic colours.

The title is borrowed from Ornette Coleman, and there are moments of jazzy shimmering in amongst the whispers. 'Spook', for instance, drenches understated orchestration in slowly melting melody, while the translucent 'Way Up High' sports a sweetly rambling flute solo courtesy of producer Kramer.

Occasionally they continue milking tunes long after they are dry. The crashing guitar breakers and splashing cymbals of 'Summertime' trail off into overcooked oblivion, while Naomi's folky rendering of Yoko Ono's 'Listen, the Snow Is Falling' drags out like a junior school choir practice. Massed recorder-playing seems likely at any moment.

But elsewhere there is artful use of church organ and bubbly wah-wah, choppy Morse Code axe-slapping and oodles of hypnotic ambience. There is also quiet humour like the synthetic ceremonial brass on the sublime 'King of Spain, Part Two'.

Dean's thick-set garage guitar and distant echo voice reach right back to veteran groaner Neil Young, even if the Galaxies are sometimes too deceptively soothing for their own good. (7)

Stephen Dalton

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