Back in the Nineties there were a couple of Galahad side projects, with the Galahad Acoustic Quintet staying fairly close to the original band except moving in a more folky direction and even including some reimagined Galahad numbers. However, the Galahad Electric Company album, ‘De-Constructing Ghosts’, saw members of the band plus various remixers making a new album using ‘Following Ghosts’ as a starting point. Although the Acoustic Quintet has yet to make a reappearance, 2020 saw a new album from Galahad Electric Company. However, instead of giving tracks out for people to play with, what we have this time is an album from singer Stu Nicholson and keyboard player Dean Baker, comprising real songs in a mix of electronica and progressive rock.
In many ways this album has been a very long time coming, in that Dean and Stu have performed as a duo in the past and have a strong friendship and working relationship. When Dean joined the band, he was the third keyboard player in as many albums, yet he has now been there for more than 20 years and has been a huge part in the move away from the neo-prog tag they were given in their early career. Given that this has mostly involved the band becoming much heavier in many areas, it is somewhat strange to hear this release, which is moving in areas far away from riffing guitars. There are times when it seems quite strange to hear Stu’s vocals over the top of electronic keyboards, and then there are others when one can imagine the full band taking on the song and crafting it into something quite different, such as “The Inquisition (intermezzo)” which starts off quite experimental before moving into quite a different area.
I must confess that the first time I played this album it just did not feel right to me, as although Stu is singing as well as ever, I was not used to his vocals being over the top of a style of music I rarely listen to. I mean, “Letting Go” feels like a single from the Eighties from the likes of Yazoo, not quite in the same musical area as the 42-minute-long “Seas of Change”. But the more I kept playing it, the more I got inside it and enjoyed it for what it was. This is not a Galahad album, yet there are similarities here and there, and hopefully there will be plenty of people intrigued to hear what this is like. Stu has told me there is another album coming soon, and I for one am looking forward to that one as well.