Long past the middle of the night, music lovers and record geeks alike sit awake, playing the “What If?” game. What if Elliot Smith’s parents banned Nick Drake from the house? Shit like that. And when one listens to Invisible Republic, the second LP from Vancouver dream poppers Young Galaxy, you get the sense that the five members of the band played a lot of “What If?” “What if we opened the album with an imminent and urgent 80’s synth-laced mash-up and threw some vocals reminiscent of Sinead O’Connor in there for good measure?” Well, you’d have “Long Live The Fallen World,” a track that runs that gamut of paradoxes. It’s creepy and haunting yet oddly upbeat. And it could be heard on both modern rock stations and in sweaty clubs. And that’s just the opening track.
“What if we got a little tribal and funky, all the while making poignant social commentary?” That’d be “Disposable Times,” complete with heavenly vocals and layer upon layer of accesible sonic genius.
“What if we wore our influences on our sleeves and sounded as European as we really want to?” Mission accomplished. “Smoke and Mirror Show” could easily be mistaken for the brilliance of Joy Division, had Joy Division decided to lighten up and spend some time on a remote island. There is a stretching feel to “Smoke and Mirrow Show,” one that remains present throughout Invisible Republic. As ironic as it might sound in this immediate and instantly replaceable digital age of ours, Invisible Republic might have worked even better as a double record. But I wouldn’t write that out of their future, either.
Invisible Republic keeps you guessing as to what’s around the corner, evoking a strange yet necessary curiousity. It’s at once a tragic and redeeming record, showcasing a band that is finding their voice and not scared of painting outside the lines in the process.
By Joshua Kloke[Rating: 4/5]