ガリレオガリレイ – Galileo Galilei

Following conventions is a problem that is highlighted in the music mainstream and the manufactured nature of the majority of chart-topping artists and bands in Japan. Fortunately, Galileo Galilei, currently a three-piece band from Hokkaido prefecture (formerly a six-member group) has captured the attention of the Japanese consciousness with their refreshing musical offerings.

Their band name was decided by a rather casual roulette. Each member submitted two band names in a tissue box and it was bass guitarist Sako’s idea that got picked. While it makes it difficult for their profile to pop up easily in search engines, perhaps it is a verbal portrayal of their motivation: to succeed in bringing about change in the Japanese musical landscape, just like the real Galileo Galilei who revolutionised the world of science.

Galileo Galilei’s biggest hit up-to-date 青い栞 ‘Aoi Shiori’ (‘Blue Bookmark’) is a pleasant friendly-rock number that illustrates their youthful and refreshing personality that first brought people’s attention. While the driving force from the rhythm section retains a feel-good atmosphere, the charming, mellow vocal quality from Yuuki Ozaki invites the listener to an intimate affair with the band, making the overall track welcoming for any listener who wants to get into the Galileo Galilei bandwagon.

When exploring the body of music they have released so far, what’s evident is the idea that Galileo Galilei are still searching for their musical identity. Their latest album Alarms (from 2013) is perhaps their most stylistically progressive. ‘Jonathan’, one of the tracks from the album conveys a vitality punctuated by clearly defined vocoder processing and their traditional rock band set-up padded out with airy synth shades that disperse in a celestial manner.

Since their navigation through a new stylistic journey, their 2015 single 嵐のあとで ‘Arashi no atode’ (‘After the storm’), written for the short anime film 台風のノルダ Typhoon Noruda, takes us back to their rock foundations. Compared to their early musical output, this song prevails in an accentuated live aesthetic, a euphoric vocal melody and poetic lyrics that speak to the emotional depth expressed throughout the film, and an all-embracing stadium rock atmosphere that draw resemblances to bands like The Script or The Fray. Perhaps the progression towards a more anthemic idiom is a sign of their maturity and growing stature as a band that can resonate musically and emotionally at a ‘Coliseum’ level.

From such a young age, Galileo Galilei have blossomed in the Japanese music scene. Their musical journey is like a ‘Prelude and Fugue’: their youthful beginnings as a ‘back-to-basic’ rock personality have slowly wandered towards various musical potentials, measured by their versatility and their successful hits that cross over a range of styles.

Other Listening:

  • Cobalt Blue
  • Good Shoes
  • サークルゲーム Circle Game

© Isaku Takahashi

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