Side projects shouldn't be this good but Galantis -- featuring Christian Karlsson of Miike Snow and Linus Eklöw from Style of Eye -- are excellent on Pharmacy, a vibrant debut LP that's bright, attractive, and oozing with earworms. EDM is the main category header with bass drops and dramatic buildups in plentiful supply, but Karlsson and Eklöw are pop or alt-pop songwriters at heart, always up for a clever turn of phrase and offering genuine uplift that will survive all the uploaded acoustic cover versions yet to come. "Forever Tonight" and "Runaway (U & I)" are the best examples, with messages and moods that could stand tall without all the slick production. As icing on the cake goes, the beatmaking and studio wizardry here are delicious, falling somewhere between a Disclosure-sized "wow" and an Empire of the Sun sense of what suits the song. Cheeseball words like "glisten" and "love" fill progressive house numbers that are weighty enough to balance them, then "Dancin' to the Sound of a Broken Heart" gives the more goth-minded listeners a shoutout with some moody minor chords. Top it all off with "Peanut Butter Jelly" (not the similarly named booty song but a way cool blast of neo-disco) and Pharmacy is a fantastic and instantly gripping effort, one that brings reminders of first encounters with acts like the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and Basement Jaxx.
by David Jeffries