Monday, 18 February 2013

The Galileo 7 "Staring at The Sound"

The latest album from The Galileo 7 entitled "Staring at The Sound" (State Records), along with a single featuring two non-album tracks "Modern Love Affair"/"Can't Get Away From Myself", are both available now from the band's official Store. As an original member of the legendary band, The Prisoners, along with The Solarflares, James Taylor Quartet, The Prime Movers, Thee Headcoats, Fay Hallam's Phaze and more recently, The Stabilisers, Allan Crockford has played an important, if somewhat, low-key part in establishing the Medway's reputation as a hotbed for spirited, uncompromising garage rock with a strong DIY ethic. Playing with such Medway notables as Graham Day, Billy Childish and James Taylor, he was often seen as the reliable sideman for more flamboyant figures. Now he has found a late flowering talent for writing his own material, and The Galileo 7 were formed to play the songs he had been storing up for the last 3 or 4 years. The band are completed by bassist Mole (from the Higher State, State Records etc), Viv Bonsels on 60's Teisco combo organ, and drummer Russ Baxter, who also plays for Secret Affair. While the band still has the trademark Punk Rock ('66 and '76 versions) fire and energy that marks out the Medway sound, there are extra elements in the music that shifts it away from the trademark it pop-psych, punkadelic, powerpop or whatever you like. If it's energy you're after you won't be disappointed, but there are also tunes and harmonies by the bucket-load to guarantee that these songs hang around in your head long after the initial sonic impact has faded.

"Staring at The Sound" kicks off with "Anne Hedonia" which sounds like it could have been on "The Who Sell Out". Come to think of it, that album is probably a good reference point for The Galileo 7, a band stretching their boundaries, from rough and ready R'n'B roots to incorporating more of a Psychedelic influence. However, there's no losing the rawness, the bubblegum harmonies and the catchy melodies. "The Only One You're Hurting" would make a great single, it starts with acoustic guitar and a swirling organ run and develops into a lovely pop song, in fact the sun has just come out as I am listening to it, it's that kind of song! The powerful fuzzed up guitars of "The Man Who Wasn't There" leads into the catchy "More Time", which is based around an acoustic Pete Townsend style riff. "Paradise" is a slow keyboard led piece and "Waiting To Cross" is an up-tempo number underpinned with phased strings. The album's title track reminds me a bit of early Blur, probably as Galileo 7 have a very British sound, there are hints of Nirvana (the Patrick Campbell-Lyons 60's version...), Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd and Julian Cope. This Britishness is particularly evident on "Hiding From The Sun" which is a lovely pastoral piece with a nice flute line flowing through it. "Not Gonna Miss You" puts the guitar riff from R.E.M.'s "Pop Song" through the blender and "Leave Me Alone" is a short, melodic and whimsical number. "Don't Fly Too High" is a great song, with it's powerful guitars and bass line that could have been on "Revolver". The album draws to a satisfying close with "Ella" with catchy backing vocal harmonies and stabbing organ. The album is maybe not quite as immediate as their fantastic debut, "Are We Having Fun Yet?" (Teen Sound Records), but repeated listens uncover a thoroughly satisfying and well rounded album full of warmth and most-importantly, some damn great songs.

The Galileo 7 will play at Brixton Jamm on March 16th at a show promoted by the on-line music magazine Penny Black Music along with Dave Harding, T.O.Y.S. and Ten.

As a little bonus, photographer Paul Slattery has dusted down some rare prints of The Prisoners at The Hope & Anchor on March 23rd 1983...featuring Allan on bass.

The Prisoners Photographs Copyright Paul Slattery 2013
You can hear a track from The Galileo 7 on the new Retrosonic Podcast Episode 6 here:  

With many thanks to Allan Crockford and Paul Slattery.

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