On Fire (20 20 20)
80s Wave / Rock / Pop / Punk
On Fire is widely recognized as the canonic pinnacle of Galaxie500s career. The artwork conveys this, with a low-angle shot ofthe band, looking up towards an amber sky. This record marked therealization of their signature sound.Nowhere is it clearer than on the album opener, Blue Thunder,the closest a song can come to waves crashing on a beach in songform. Lyrically inconsequential, with a chorus composed entirelyof las, the tracks power lies in a systematic build and break of intensity that reaches a Spector-like climax. It is the quintessentialGalaxie 500 song, encapsulating all that was great about the band.With the Boston trio once again utilizing the bizarre genius ofproducer Mark Kramer, On Fire sounds like anything but. Theguitars are warm blankets enwrapping Dean Warehams vocals,percolated by the open percussion of Damon Krukowski andanchored by the emotion-laden bass of Naomi Yang. Songs likeSnowstorm, Strange, and Decomposing Trees have an endlessquality, without beginnings or ends, but rather frozen somewhereon a spectrum of melancholy.For the first time since its original pressing, On Fire is availableagain on vinyl. Cut by vinyl ace Kevin Gray from a remaster byKramer and Alan Douches, the album sounds more vibrant thanever, and Galaxie 500 exists again as one of the most enrapturing and glorious bands to emerge from the underground in the past 25years.