Monday, July 2, 2018

Galen Ayers: “Monument” (2018) CD Review

Galen Ayers’ debut album, Monument, is an engaging collection of original material that feels honest and true, songs that are personal yet are also easy to connect to. Written while she was on the island of Hydra, where Leonard Cohen once lived and wrote, these songs combine elements of folk and pop.

The album begins with “You Choose,” an intimate song, in which you get the sense she is baring her soul. “I live in the cracks to forget what I’ve seen/I don’t know much, baby, of why I’m bruised/But I know in the end you choose.” The song is basically delivered with just guitar backing her vocals, but with a haunting atmosphere rising beneath that folk sound. Her vocal delivery might remind you a bit of Aimee Mann. This song is a striking opener. It’s followed by “Collide,” which has a more positive sound and lyrics. Check out these lines: “All this wasted time/Makes you want to run outside/Seek and find/Grab your girl/Grab your man/See the world/All you can/Find out what you want/Find out what you believe/Find out what you love/And collide.” Yes, exactly! These days you might feel selfish doing just that, you know, while the world seems to fall apart around us, but it feels necessary. We can’t lose sight of ourselves as the nation loses sight of itself. The only time I’m absolutely certain I am spending well is the time I have my girlfriend in my arms, particularly when we are out seeing small portions of the world together.

“Run Baby Run” begins with some cool, raw-sounding percussion. Much of this song is sung in Spanish. “Nunca vas a aprender/Tengo que irme/I’m going to run baby run baby run.” This song has a certain beauty and power.  Then “Morning Song” mixes folk and pop elements to create an engaging sound that pulls you in and holds you tight. Check out these lines: “Been so long since I took the time/To hold the weight of your hand in mine/I know I’m lazy/And I’ve become a hazy version of myself/What can I do?/How can I get over it again?” It is the song of someone who is determined to regain control of her life, and is a compelling track. “I know I’ve got a destination/But I’ve lost my constellation/Help me to start over again/Help me.”

“Into The Sea (Calm Down)” is a kind of dreamy folk-pop song, but with a steady pulse keeping us grounded. It has a bit of an odd, intriguing tone, for it’s about finding the right person, but doesn’t take it all that seriously. “You could be the one/That will the shine above everyone/And I could be just me/We’ve got to meet eventually/Oh, when it all falls down, down, down, down, down/Down, down, down, down, down/Into the sea.” Then “U-Turn” is a strong pop song that I can’t help but enjoy. It’s that chorus, which is catchy and sweet and pretty, and I just bloody love it. You probably will too. The entire song has an unusual and playful vocal line. The CD concludes with its title track, “Monument,” which begins with a haunting sound and works through heartache to build into a positive-sounding pop song. “You and I/We live underneath the same sky/You and I/It’s gonna be all right.”

CD Track List
  1. You Choose
  2. Collide
  3. Run Baby Run
  4. Morning Song
  5. Duet
  6. Melancoholic
  7. Into The Sea (Calm Down)
  8. U-Turn
  9. Ain’t The Way
  10. Monument
Monument is scheduled to be released on July 27, 2018 on Bombinate Records.

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