2022 (Shaded Moon Entertainment)
A Jadis in the hand is worth two in the bush. Do you know that expression? No? Keep it that way, it’s nonsense. Every band has a right to exist since there is always an intrinsic individuality. The progband Galaxy (Groningen, The Netherlands) proves that in all keys with the “Runaway Men”.
First of all, the history of the band, makes a lot of sence. Both bands are contemporaries with the 90s as their heydays. In Jadis case, that means a few beautiful CDs, Galaxy has to make do with a handful of cassette tapes, a mini CD and an ambitious album recorded in 1997 that was never released. Afterwards, the band went up in smoke and everyone went their separate ways.
David van Hartingsveldt of Shaded Moon Entertainment hears some rough mixes of the never released album 25 years later and he decides to release it anyway. That was easier said than done because the tapes were in all places. Moreover, all material was still unmixed but they managed to do it and on May 27, 2022 , “Runaway Men” is on the shelves as a CD and LP.
After my first listening session, however, I could not ignore some present similarities. For example, with both Jadis and Galaxy, the music is regularly stimulated by a tingling keyboard theme where the rhythm section is certainly not sulking. Another similarity is in the vocals, the same emotions, the same timbre. The only thing that differs in my opinion is the guitar playing that with its sometimes solid sound is more reminiscent of bands like Saga, Rush and Kansas from that time. All in all, the enjoyability of “Runaway Men” lies in a compact Jadis-like band sound with punchier guitar work, eight songs full of enthusiasm.
The biggest asset of the band is that great singer,Bart Schwertmann. You might know him since he won the Dutch soundmixshow in 1999 with a song from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, but it is more likely that you know him as the lead singer of Kayak, which he has been since 2018. Schwertmann has the perfect balance in his voice between theatricality and rock, something you can already hear on “Runaway Men”. Moreover, he is an excellent bass player as actually the whole band consists of skilled musicians.
Beats me, Galaxy must have an enormous favor factor. They immediately sucked me into the album with the catchy Answers with an irregular rhythm and a nice riff. Strong guitar lines, extraordinarily beautiful vocals and a flashy keyboard solo complete the song perfectly. In the subsequent songs Look Into My Eyes and Never The Same it is more all over. Tasty organ chords and a touch of AOR will keep you on your toes. In Her Head is a more subdued song and then they come up with the exuberant Lady Of Fire, one of my personal favorites. Partly due to the theatrical vocals, it reminds a lot of the American band Ten Jinn, this in a pleasant way. What I mean is that with too much pathos in your voice you come across as rather pathetic and that is precisely the last thing I want to say about Schwertmann. Talk To Me is the single from the album, catchy metal with a lot of melody. Gallery Play is an instrumental, a controlled song full of excellent solos and interplay. It’s a song that lives up to its name. If the album closes with the largo Runaway Man you have to conclude that Galaxy has shown a lot of good and almost nothing mediocre. It was a great move to release the album 25 years later. Lovers of powerful neo-prog, listen to it in your advantage.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022