Under Review




Review by Alex de Boer

Galiano is a concept album that has been playfully misconceived. Its island motifs are location-inspired (it was recorded on Galiano), though the rainforest they reference has never sounded so dusty. Arid instrumentation contrasts with lush lyrics, culminating in a pastel pop frontier tale of B.C.’s west coast. The four-track EP has the singe of a spaghetti western, albeit one that was not shot on location.

Out of a darkling ambience, “The Weekend” takes shape. A half minute into the tune, deep-voiced guitar riffs bring distinct structure and timely parallelism, while vocals strike syllables like chords. Bouncy unity abounds. The exactness is precise without being severe. Only in the end does the song’s spring turn to a saunter, with wandering chords and electronic scorches providing a perfect segue into the second track.

“In that Island Sun” is the boldest segment in this tale. The scene opens with determined hands patting thick leather and fingers climbing acoustic strings; a chivalrous figure enters the frame. Dark, electric, he moves towards the desert sunrise. With the click of a boot heel, the camera swoops. There flies a hawk with glitching shriek. Its gaze finds, again and again, a rattlesnake stirring up dust. The hero walks forward in a landscape of fuzzy mirage, his confidence compounded by a chorus wordlessly, non-diegetically championing his cause.

The second half of the album is especially lighthearted. Pendulous strumming gives “Carnival Talk” an open-ended intro which might have gone a number of ways. Eventually, buoyant pop is the path chosen. Blindingly sunny, the tune’s warmth is pleasant, but without much depth. “No Fun” is really more of a skit than a song. The chanting chorus is cute and so is the voice of everydad, trying to spread his appreciation of “another day in paradise” to his kids.

These last two tracks prove Galiano is more avocation than ardent application. The efforts of Brent Freedman and Rolla Olak are, however, impressively conceptual, and the result is well-structured pop.