Returning with their much anticipated second EP “Even This Glow”, local indie rock band Galapagos is back and bigger than ever – quite literally – as original duo Adam Ferris and Matthew Wood team up with drummer Jamie Orser, and bass guitarist Gerardo Mantecon. The result of this new lineup is a rich, nostalgic sound that perfectly balances melodic riffs, sincere lyrics, and pulsating energy.
Galapagos has previously described their music as “90s alternative and turn-of-the-millennium emo,” and compared their sound to a mix of Ryan Adams, Treble Charger, and American Football. I’d have to agree, as Ferris’ plaintive vocals brought me back to my own 90’s-alt, emo days of listening to Built to Spill. This is a collection of tracks you want to drive to when you’re wracked with angst on a particularly moody, introspective day.
The first song on the EP, “Wall”, truly captures the conflict of the “hedgehog’s dilemma”, which is a metaphor for the tensions and challenges associated with new relationships and human intimacy. Sound weird? Hear me out: hedgehogs want to snuggle up together in the winter but are unable to get super close due to the unavoidable pain they’ll cause each other with their sharp, spiny backs. In keeping with that theme, a desire for clear communication and intimacy shines through in lyrics such as “Tell me / The things you’ve seen before you met me…the universe shrinks between you and me”. However, this soon collides with the speaker’s hesitation to be vulnerable and honest with someone they care about: even though they crave emotional warmth and true affection, they’re guarding themselves with lines like “I’m trying hard to let you know / When at the same time not trying to let it show.” “Wall” gets to the push and pull of the human heart faces in the struggle to form genuine connections.
Just as the tensions in “Wall” are likely familiar to most, the rest of “Even This Glow” is refreshingly earnest and universal. “Lungs” and “Coffee” are about relationships on the brink of collapse, while “Jersey” is a hopeful, upbeat song about persevering through one’s struggles with depression. There’s also “Decide”, which made me long for my youth with its musings on unrequited love and a belief in being destined for “the one.” While I don’t believe in those things now, I find it deeply satisfying to turn on this track and travel back to a time in my life when love seemed obvious and even fated.
The candour and simplicity of the lyrics that make up “Even This Glow” truly stand out, and it’s a testament to Galapagos’ skill that they’re not lost among the lush soundscapes and intricate, freewheeling instrumentals. Don’t just take my word for it: snag your own copy of “Even This Glow” on their Bandcamp and be sure to catch them live tomorrow night (January 27) at Pressed for their EP release party. They’ll be joined by fellow local bands Greathunter and Swim Team starting at 8pm for $10. Give Galapagos a follow on Facebook to keep track of news and upcoming shows.