Young Galaxy

by Jim Di Gioia

September 28, 2018

2018 will go down as a watershed year for Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless of Young Galaxy. Their recent album, Down Time, is the finest, most creative record of their career and one of the year’s best (yet critically ignored) records. Though they’ve always embraced reinvention and musical evolution, twelve years into their career, Down Time felt like Young Galaxy were a new band on the precipice of uncharted territory. It’s a late-career gem in the same vein as Technique, Disintegration, and Low.

And now, just like that, Down Time has become Young Galaxy’s penultimate release. On Monday, the band announced it was going on an indefinite hiatus, and that today they would release Snow Leopard, a three-song EP that unofficially marks the end of Young Galaxy as we know it. Ramsay and McCandless leave us with “Future”, a taste of what was and what could have been.

Who’s to blame for this? If you ask Torquil Campbell, it’s partly the work of a fickle music press who ignore honest-to-goodness music reporting in favour of gossip-rag fodder that’s more about clicks than art. Perhaps time itself is the villain, providing too little too late to keep the creative fires burning. But that doesn’t seem to be the case if you read Young Galaxy’s official statement (which was, ironically, shared widely by publications that hardly acknowledged Down Time’s existence): “YG has had a linear movement until now with Stephen and I as its central driving force. And to satisfy our need to change and be challenged, each album bloomed differently than the last with loved and varied people to help present it. But now the two of us see that it is a matter of survival, personally and creatively, that we transform our singular process from its linear movement to multiple processes / branched movements.”

In essence, Young Galaxy is continuing its creative evolution, undergoing yet another dramatic metamorphosis. Fans can mourn, or they can embrace the same optimism and adventurous spirit as McCandless and Ramsay: Young Galaxy isn’t dead, it’s going Supernova. They will be firing off in all directions soon. Be patient, and keep your eyes turned skyward; we’ll soon see new signs of life.

Jim Di Gioia

Jim founded the music blog Quick Before It Melts in 2006 and was its principal writer until 2016, when its decade-long run ended 10 years to the day it started. DOMINIONATED is its spiritual successor. Jim currently serves as a Polaris Music Prize jurist and Prism Prize jurist.
Jim Di Gioia

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