[Review] Galapaghost – I Never Arrived

In the wake of an increasingly dour output of finger’ pickin’ folk, Galapaghost ushers in a sound that finds itself achingly self-aware of its predecessors. I Never Arrived shows the trio willing themselves to escape the maladroit nature of trans-Atlantic power-folk for something more self-deprecating and strangely ghoulish. I Never Arrived is the geist of feelings left unsaid, lingering shadows of less than well wishes and a large slice of humble pie that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Galapaghost has some international clout behind them, from a Jools Holland slot to Gabriele Salvatores credits to a likely collaboration with Werner Hertzog’s side projects. This brings a Belle and Sebastian sensibility to some otherwise mildly aggressive fronts, but it’s only a twee rock skip away from the non-threatening nature of the group. I Never Arrived shines in its blatant display of what is years of work on display, deftly crafted in a format not as bloated as other lifetime compendiums. One can feel songwriter Casey Chandler’s commitment to unpacking some sense of pride into a more palatable form.

It’s a friendly release, to say the least. Despite some of Chandler’s platform involving crowing the phrase, “You’re at the top of my shit list,” he’s about as a hard as a Diet Lime Coke left out at room temp. The bulk of the listening pleasure comes from the duality of listlessness and provoked nebbish narration of the unfolding album at hand. The short and sweet of it – one imagines that the gatefold image of this vinyl might have been a crude illustration of Chandler serenading a frog or a gaggle of forest sprites – I think many of us fall into that audience often.

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