Galahad – The long Goodbye (2023)
Very soon after the previous album The Last Great Adventurer (2022), Galahad releases successor The Long Goodbye and I took a look at my review of the 2022 album.
Actually, I've come to the conclusion that everything I've written also applies to this new album and so this could be a boring review. Of course that is not the intention, so I have to puzzle out how I can report something useful.
The line-up is the same as on the previous album and as I said I'm happy with Lee Abraham as guitarist, he really adds something. Stuart (Stu) Nicholson sings well again with his signature voice and proves to be one of the better singers in "our" genre. Okay, so there's no surprise here. Maybe in the songs?
Yes and no and that sounds lame but what I mean is that the songs on The Long Goodbye are very close to those on its predecessor. Is that such a bad thing? No, not at all, because Galahad has been offering a very consistent quality in recent years and doesn't deliver really bad tracks. Okay, sometimes they are more noticeable than others, but there are no fillers.
The question is still, is their need to keep making prog greater than the need to make more straightforward songs and I dare to say yes to this because they do opt for longer tracks with the necessary variety. Still, there is clearly quite a sing-along content in many of the choruses and that is a compliment but also a concern. Isn't it getting too easy and mainstream?
Again, yes and no. Some songs are just a bit more prog than others and opener Behind the Veil of a Smile is really fine. The song starts off nicely with a catchy tune on keys by Dean Baker who, as always, gives a modern touch to Galahad's music. Stu has chosen the consequences of aging and change in perspectives as the subject for this album. Just look at the cover and you understand the connection, years of memories slowly fly out of your brain like birds and that makes people change. The guitar solo at the end is one that fits Lee Abraham exactly and is fine. And that goes for the whole song, very nice.
Everything's changed and Shadow in the Corner are those tracks that balance on the edge of prog and are very close to some more mainstream rock. However, there is clearly a prog sauce poured over it and the music is just good. Every now and then there are Tiësto-like pieces in between, but a few solid guitar chords keep the rock level up. The electronic elements still provide a modern touch. The choruses are also very singable and the melodies are not too complicated.
On The Righteous and the Damned we actually start with an a cappella sung lyric that harks back to Empires never Last and a folky passage forms the transition to a much spicier piece with a nice violin solo. The rhythm section, still consisting of Mark Spencer on bass and Spencer Luckman on drums, shows that the backbone of the band is very solid and reliable. And the conclusion is as before, Empires never Last!
With more than thirteen minutes, The Long Goodbye is the actual finale of this album and as is often the case, this is a real prog song that contains a beautiful melody after eight minutes and that is the prelude to a wonderful guitar solo and a nice euphoric ending.
Is this it then? No, two bonus numbers have been added. I assume that this form is chosen because these songs don't fit conceptually with the central theme because Darker Days musically fits perfectly on the album. Again a very recognizable song with a nice solo by Abraham. Open Water is a quiet mostly acoustic ballad with a really beautiful singing Nicholson.
For existing fans, this is a no-brainer and a logical sequel to Seas of Change and The Last Great Adventurer. Absolutely beautiful and I'm happy with the current line-up and yet I kind of miss the sharpness and menace of Empires. It's all a bit smoother and sometimes even a bit too much.
The cover is functional and completes the total feel of this album but I miss a bit of colour.