Galahad - Sleepers

(CD 2015/ 1995, 74:28, Oskar Records #1065)

The tracks:
  1- Sleepers(12:19)
  2- Julie Anne(4:43)
  3- Live And Learn(9:54)
  4- Dentist Song(4:19)
  5- Pictures Of Bliss(2:06)
  6- Before, After And Beyond(6:08)
  7- Exorcising Demons(9:15)
  8- Middleground(6:03)
  9- Amaranth(11:43)
Bonus tracks:
10- Suffering In Silence(5:49)
11- Pictures Of Bliss (alternative version)(2:11)

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Galahad have been around for many years already. The band celebrated its 30th year of existence in 2015, and the 20th birthday of their album Sleepers. This was a good reason to release a remastered version of this album, which marks the highlight of their discography according to most. A highlight I missed, and which I gladly catch up to now.

Galahad are categorized as neo prog, and it can't be denied that sound wise they do share a lot with bands like Pendragon, Marillion and IQ. Not just because vocalist Stuart Nicholson makes himself sound like Fish on some occasions and like Peter Nicholls on others. Of course, all of that has been mentioned over and over the past 20 years, but that doesn't change the fact that Galahad delivered a fine album back then.

This release is a crisp and clear remaster of the original release, with two bonus tracks added. Highlights for me are the title track, that opens the album and Exorcising Demons. The first is a 12 minute long epic track, with hints of Marillion and Genesis, or what Peter Jones delivers nowadays with Tiger Moth Tales. Exorcising Demons, about child abuse reminds me in a way of Marillion's The Web, but the mid section certainly is different in style.
Other tracks that stand out to me are Amaranth, with bombastic keyboard parts and surprising beat parts in the middle, which might have been a little shorter for me.
What surprised me a few times, and reading older reviews of Galahad albums I wasn't the only one: some of the tracks sound like a heavier version of synth pop band The Pet Shop Boys. Not entirely unpleasant, but still surprising. Best example of this is Dentist Song, with lyrics describing what the title suggests, and a sort of swing to it that only settles down when the anaesthetics kick in.

Overall, a very appreciable album, which is clearly a milestone in the career of Galahad. I never heard the original, but apparently it did sound rather thin to some reviewers. This remaster certainly does justice to the music, and is anything but 'thin', so it may be a good buy also for those who already have the original. Not an album that would make my top X lists after 20 years, but I've heard albums that aged far worse than this.

***+ Angelo Hulshout (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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