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Galaxie 500 - The Portable Galaxie 500 (1998) review

Galaxie 500 "The Portable Galaxie 500" (Rykodisc, 1998)

It goes with out saying that boxed sets can be a bit overwhelming, if not daunting, at times ... ‘less of course you’re a die hard completist, which would mean that having the boxed set, the original vinyl, and the 45 rpms, is still never enough.  And to that end Rykodisc presents this stunning bit of wanderlust from a band who’ve influenced nearly every shoegazer, post-punk, dream pop, and neo-psychedelic band to follow them.  Great effort by the band and others went into selecting these gems, where three albums and assorted assembled material have been trimmed down to an essential 13 dream-pop jewels, songs that capture the essence of this lo-fi enigmatic band who saw little success during their days together, yet have managed to rise to nearly cult status today.

The music found here is beyond impressive, Portable creates a seamless atmosphere of hazy melancholy and light hearted introspection that’s well crafted and never monotonous.  The songs manage to build on each other with a complexity that’s staggering, where Dean, Naomi, and Damon magically capture the essence of the late 80’s and early 90’s so insightfully that the songs still sound fresh and applicable today.  But the quality that’s most self-evident, is that these songs don’t seem to be present front and center, it’s more like they’re heard from a distance, bouncing off the walls of side streets and alleyways, drifting down from open windows, or coming from the car next to you while stopped in traffic.

I truly hesitate to call this a Greatest Hits collection, because the band never really had any mainstream hits, just a grouping of songs that got religiously played at shows, and single releases that got gobbled up by devoted fans.  Regardless ... today, this collection will be the gateway disc that’s going to spark a whole new generation to discover the ghostly pleasures and inherent dark beauty that was Galaxie 500.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2014
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