The new Galaxy Lodge displays restraint in spades, and that’s where their mastery lies: the shunning of crescendo; the eschewing of cheap rhyme; the refusal to be a cartoony pastiche of the things they love.
Beautiful arpeggios and verses like a swath of petals in bloom populate “Studies for the Sky,” the affecting new single from shoegaze meisters Galaxy Lodge.
In their more-than-able hands, this otherwise unsuspecting and agreeable tune becomes a spirited paradox: a sweet ditty with a bitter sorrow cloaked within.
Despite the occasionally unwieldy prose and awkward attempts at symbolism, the frolicking cadence remains entrancing. In truth the backstory falls in the cracks, but mostly because they let it.
“While the song lyrics can really be open to interpretation, the idea came about while taking care of a sick child during a stormy night,” the band shares in a statement. The song is a picture of a struggle laced, they say, with “the hope that tomorrow would be better weather for kite-flying.”
Though an apparent nod to melodic postpunk and New Wave in the vein of The Care and Wild Swans, what “Studies for the Sky” achieves sonically is, really, a masterclass in reinvention with restraint. And that restraint is key: without it, homage becomes mere mimicry, and without it, the band—singer-guitarist Emer Lacandazo, guitarist-drummer Gerard Panlilio, and bassist Aaron Aquino—are glorified minstrels without a mission.
But they do display that glorious restraint in spades, and at the risk of belaboring the point, that control is where their mastery lies: the shunning of crescendo; the eschewing of cheap rhyme; the refusal to be a cartoony pastiche of the things they love.
When they sing “Until the light of day has touched the shadows one by one / and cover the shades with the morning sun,” it’s not a cloud-parting moment but a cloud-melding one, where escape is rendered an urgency and immediacy that, as its inspirations go, is mythic in seething purpose (“[It references] an old indie film by Raymond Red about an Icarus-like character who made ‘studies’ of experimental flying contraptions so that he can reach the heavens”) but, also, poetic in introspection, being partly informed by the (deceivingly simple) Robert Frost signature poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
“Studies for the Sky” is like the audio equivalent of that favorite candy you thought had vanished entirely, only to be reappear without fanfare, sure, but with a subtle yet vital difference. Spot it.