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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Galantis’ sophomore album ‘The Aviary’ falls short in song structure

The Swedish EDM duo Galantis, responsible for the feel-good hit single "Peanut Butter Jelly" and anti-bullying track "No Money," return for their sophomore album, The Aviary. Though this is only the duo's second album together, they are by no means novices of the industry.

Those less familiar with Galantis' music are likely to have heard music produced and written by member Christian Karlsson. As a founding member of record label INGRID and a Grammy winning producer, Karlsson has carved his name into the pop music industry through his work; creating music for a flurry of pop juggernauts like Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Madonna.

Second member Linus Eklöw follows a similar track record with productions alongside Usher and Icona Pop. Prior to Galantis' formation, Eklöw was known under the moniker Style of Eye as a techno and house artist.

Together, the two have combined to create a fun, dance style of pop music constructed within the confines of tropical house. Regardless of their meaningless and often silly lyrics, the duo has managed to headline some of the holy grails of electronic music festivals like Miami’s Ultra all the way to smaller local events like Chicago's North Coast.

The Aviary serves as a lighthouse for both the best and worst characteristics of the genre. Over the album's 12 tracks and 40-minute running time, listeners are treated to a slew of delightful and infectious dance anthems that offer little in substance. Lyrical critiques aside, the actual structure of each track is my biggest issue. However, I have to caveat this assessment by stressing a different point first; if any of the aforementioned acts the two veteran artists have produced for were to take helm of the vocals, it would be a summer chart-topping chant plaguing the radio waves. Consider Jack U's collaboration with Justin Bieber, "Where are you now," as emulation of this claim. Stand-out tracks like "Girls on Boys" featuring EDM artist ROZES does one of the better jobs reminding listeners of the duo’s ability to make award winning pop music.

As noted earlier, the substantial chink in The Aviary's armor comes with its song structures. Every track except "The Hunter" goes for a minute long build-up into a distinct but painfully predictable drop. My issue with this method is that the first half of each track is reflected and unaltered for its second half. Coupled with these repeated halfway points is a guarantee of altered vocals dragged through an Ableton sink of high and low pitch chop jobs.

In regard to their festival scene, the album provides an arsenal of transition opportunities and fan-servicing tracks that enable the sought after euphoric sound associated with seeing the duo live.

For releasing the single "No Money" just over a year ago, the album comes off as a too-little-too-late listening experience. Listeners looking for an album to practice hula hooping to in East Campus Mall need not search any further. As for the rest of us, I suggest keeping the Galantis listening experience to a live ordeal.

Grade: D+

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