Galileo Galilei - Parade
Kami-sama’s been kind to Galileo Galilei. After all, not every artist can boast having a movie based upon their music, barely after their debut album has seen the light of day. All of this in the space of just three years, since the band’s triumphant win at the 2008 Senkou Riot festival; itself beginning in the same year, with the intent of showcasing Japan’s upcoming young talent. Now barely into their twenties Galileo Galilei - currently selling out shows back home - attempts to reach an international audience, with Sony Music distributing their debut album Parade across the U.S. and Europe via digital download.
You can’t help but smile as Parade opens with 'Boku Kara Kimi E' [From Me To You], the fourth single from the band, subsequently adopted by education group Benesse for one of their TV commercials. A song that tells of an uncertain journey, with lyrics pertaining to longing, dreaming and following one’s own path in life, the track is ultimately played out in breezy fashion. It’s a trend that continues throughout the next few tracks: 'Wakkanai', '18' and 'Hamanasu No Hana' - their debut one million-selling hit about staying true to yourself, and which happens to sport a more cynical edge. Throughout these numbers Yuki Ozaki demonstrates an exuberant energy and vocal range, backed by a number of catchy hooks and Hitoshi Sako’s bass-lines, along with a manner of eclectic sounds: classical guitar fused with electric rhythms, to horns, swift percussion and engaging harmonies from Fumito Iwai and Kazuki (brother of Yuki) Ozaki.
Tracks five-seven retain much energy about them, though never quite reach the catchy jangly sounds of the opening numbers. They seem to serve better toward Yuki’s more dreamy metaphors and romantic ideals; confronting anxiety, braving the storm and holding on to dreams of a better future. It’s clear by this point then that Parade has an overarching theme, and while it could be accused of being rather samey, even naïve at times, there’s a charm to it. With 'Flappy' kicking into gear it’s time for things to brighten up a little, and it’s indeed a rather sweet number with a chip tune-like personality; you can almost imagine the backing track fitting into a videogame or some weird Nyancat sequel video.
After the more spastic, heavier vibes of 'Dou Demo ii' [How Is It] which sets it apart from the rest, the album becomes a tad sedate as it approaches its end with 'SIREN' and 'Kanseitou'. These two are a little lengthy at almost seven-minutes each, compared to the fluffier radio-friendly numbers that make up most of the album, but they’re no less poignant, with the final track in particular - an acoustic rendition of a song they wrote back in school - fittingly closing on nostalgic emotions. A poetic finish expressing the journey toward a new beginning, and a song which ultimately inspired director Takahiro Miki to make his 68-minute feature.
Parade is a solid and confident debut from Galileo Galilei, a little band from Hokkaido that took Japan by storm almost overnight. It’s an album of most certain inspiration and sincerity, the clear beginning of a story that’s far from finished for these young artists. It seems that they’ve reached their plateau already, but I suspect that they’ll be dreaming for many more years to come.
Parade is available now through Amazon UK and iTunes.