Over the short lifespan of just three albums in three years (Today, 1988; On Fire, 1989; This Is Our Music,1990), Boston's Galaxie 500 crafted some of the most beautiful and lasting music of the late 80's. On Fire is generally viewed as their infallible classic, and deservedly so, but all three have recently received the reissue treatment from Domino Records (along with Badabing and 20/20/20). Listening to On Fire for the first time in a few years only reinforces the slow-churned majesty that Dean Wareham and co. were able to conjure at their best. This is continually gorgeous, era-defining music. Songs like "Blue Thunder", "Snowstorm", and "Decomposing Trees" ride waves of reverb and slow-building guitar heroics to blissed-out climaxes, laying the foundation for the hundreds of like-minded dream-pop bands that followed. From the On Fire liner notes, written by Richard King and perfectly capturing this album's allure: "On Fire moves at an almost erotic pace, aglow in its strange and visionary world. A perfect, liquid equilibrium. Listen, and lose yourself, in the heat of this alchemical masterpiece."
The revelation for me at this point though is their debut, Today. Before this week I hadn't heard it, and have been pleasantly surprised that it is the near equal of its more widely regarded follow up. I guess On Fire's reputation always placed the other two albums in its shadow, causing me to wrongfully overlook them. I'm still yet to listen to This Is Our Music for the first time, but am looking forward to giving it numerous spins over the next few days. It's an exciting place to be in right now - sort of like when you run into someone who has never seen Lost but wants to borrow your DVDs and play catch up - yeah, they've been missing out for a long time, but I'm always jealous that they get to experience something so great for the first time. These reissues are available now, and come with an assortment of (previously released) extras, including a fantastic Peel Session (On Fire), the live album Copenhagen (This Is Our Music), and the odds and ends compilation Uncollected (Today).