Review Summary: A very good mixture of styles and some thoughtful observations, both social and personal.
“Nor here, nor there.” It seems that is exactly the way Casey Chandler who originates from a certain place called Woodstock NY, feels and obviously felt while he was recording his fourth, self-produced album Pulse under his artistic name of Galpaghost. That is a feeling most people who live outside their native country for a while when they go back. And forth. And so on. You live abroad and you get the sense of a different culture and society that is not exactly yours. You go back, and as if you are looking at the place you come from a completely different perspective. And then you’re not sure who changed - your native place or yourself. Usually, it is both.
And that is exactly what Chandler is channeling on Pulse. All the disillusionment, problems he sees with different sets of eyes, not only personal but society-wide. That is in a way also channeled through the fact that the album has been recorded in Italy where Chandler lived for two years and where he had a chance to have his music featured in a prize-winning film “Il Ragazzo Invisible” (The Invisible Kid), and later remixed in Austin, Texas where Chandler lives.
Those different set of eyes (and ears, I guess) are reflected in what is to be heard on Pulse. From social and political observations of the title track and “Analog Wasteland” to very personal ones like the closer “Pinerolo”. Chandler also runs a gamut of musical textures from the balladry of tracks like “Obidos” and “B.LT.”, something that listeners might expect from a singer/songwriter to electronics, dominated tracks like aforementioned “Analog Wasteland”, somewhat under his European influences like French electronic giants like Phoenix. There is a distinct ‘Texan’ influence from bands like Midlake, something Chandler cites himself, but also from artists like John Grant, something that could be expected because he toured with the guy for more than six months in Europe at one point.
But what is evident from all his music is that Chandler or Galapaghost can make both good musical and lyrical sense out of his ‘dual’, expatriate/patriate vision and that in Pulse he came up with an album that is not only a good listen but one that also makes you think, if you haven’t done that already.