Shapeshifting is far from being an arbitrarily chosen title for Young Galaxy’s third album, in fact I would suspect that it was settled on long before the record itself began really taking shape. One of the first things you’ll notice here is the effortlessly lithe metamorphosis which the Canadians have undergone since 2009′s Polaris Prize nominated Invisible Republic. This certainly isn’t to say they’re unrecognisable; the slow burning romanticism which inspired both that album and their self-titled debut is still here in abundance but it’s shielded by a more aloof and strutting tone, quite rarely does their bruised world-weary vulnerability shine through as brightly as it once did. This is largely down to the significant influence of Dan Lissvik, one half of Swedish duo Studio, on production duties. After recording the album the band handed over complete control to Lissvik, e-mailing the tracks to him and then waiting nine months for him to do with them whatever he saw fit.
The final results pair the trademark humid sparsity of Lissvik’s solo work with the band’s protracted lush shoegaze to stunning effect. These more spacious arrangements lend themselves to slow, gesticulating rhythms which expose a sexuality you just wouldn’t have associated with the band before. Suddenly Catherine McCandless’ vocals are svelte rather than sensitive, gliding gently over sun drenched tropical synth lines and squelching bass there’s an air of repressed passion which permeates the record. You might not know it to listen to the lyrical content mind you which is often lackadaisical as ever but still emits a more up-beat attitude than before, whilst McCandless might plead lines like “Oh spare me today / I’ve had enough of the hurry hurry / just let the day rise easy” on ‘We Have Everything’ it’s done so with the backing of sprawling skyward reaching riffs and cascading major key synths. The whole way through there is this sense of positive energy coursing through the songs, that they’re really striving to break out of the shell of melancholy reflection they had cocooned themselves in previously.