Psychedelic. Indie. Experimental. Over the years, there have been many
different, nebulous thoughts attached to Galaxy Juice’s unique brand of pop. The
Kuwaiti band’s 2014 debut album, Crystal Dunes, came out of nowhere
(they’ll tell you it came from space) and took the scene by storm, winning them
plenty of admirers within and beyond Kuwaiti borders. Some six years and
two additional major releases later, the group have released their very first
Arabic-language song, ‘Subiya’ (named after Kuwait's Subiya desert), from upcoming album, Galaxy Juice and the Forty Thieves.
It’s a trippy carnival of a song that booms and swaggers, skips and twirls through a bouncy, high-spirited beat - and it's awfully infectious. There’s also something about the track that ties it to that very specific contemporary psychedelic/dream pop sound that has come out of Maryland, US in the last 20 years. One can’t help but hear the joyously woozy song and think of the sounds championed by the likes of Animal Collective, Dan Deacon and, maybe to a lesser extent, Beach House, all of whom were formed or are based in the state’s biggest city, Baltimore. In particular, the song has a kindred spirit in the work of Animal Collective, prior to their 2009 breakout. The difference, however, is that ‘Subiya’ holds more of a languid pace and softer temperament to Animal Collective’s often frenetic, mad-hat approach.The vocals are delivered with a similar enthusiasm, repeating words and stretching syllables to playful effect, while also taking cues from the barbershop style of creating melody with vocals. The highlight of the these vocals, however, comes during a break towards the end, where a basic, uncluttered harmony adds the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.
The most significant and lasting post-it note to slap onto 'Subiya' is regarding the band’s use of Arabic. So many English-language acts across the Middle East dare not tread to the other side, lest they alienate or get lost. Some rightly claim that they experience and consume in English and so it’s only natural that they portray and produce in that same framework. That’s all well and good, but Galaxy Juice have not only leaped over this philosophical pit hole, but one could argue that it has added a new dimension to their sound, because there’s simply nothing like this in Arabic. The fusion of the band’s western impetuses and otherworldly inflections with the uniquely authentic vocals come together to make something altogether very rare.
Wade deeper into the psychedelic abyss with our abstract and quite frankly insane interview with Galaxy Juice here.