Galactic Create New Orleans-Inspired LP With ‘Already Ready Already’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Stanton Moore, Jeff Raines, and Rich Vogel of Galactic, November 2018. Photographed at Pizza Delicious, New Orleans LA.

The tenth studio album from New Orleans staple Galactic, titled Already Ready Already, is an LP of sounds influenced by their home city and beyond. It scales back a bit from their previous release Into The Deep, this time only showcasing local singers while evolving the core bands funk sound for the future with digital blasts and experimentation.  

The instrumentals, which open and close the album aptly titled “Already” and “Ready Already”, are blazers and the most rock leaning the band gets; for a group who stays with the funk these are exciting glimpses into a harder sound for the outfit. While the group is notorious for their live sets, they are constantly striving to refine their studio craft.

The band (Stanton Moore, Robert Mercurio, Jeff Raines, Richard Vogel, Ben Ellman, Shamarr Allen) has always promoted their home city on record and in practice (recently by purchasing the famed Tipitina’s), and when the music gets rolling they bring some local friends out into the spotlight. Charm Taylor returns (she collaborated with the band on their best song last album “Right On”) for “Clap Your Hands”, a gospel-influenced party jam that Taylor confidently leads. The track uses blaring horns, harmonica, warm organ and layers of beats to move forward, while two other offerings thrust Galactic’s sound into the future even more successfully; “Touch Get Cut” and “Dance At My Funeral”.  

Erica Falls delivers a badass vocal for “Touch Get Cut”, which whirls together pieces of digital bleeps, NOLA second line, marching drums, and small horn flourishes to support the killer Falls as she claims her space with vocal dominance. “Dance At My Funeral” is the most exciting mix of past New Orleans with 2019 and beyond as rap cabaret artist BOYFRIEND exalts all of her friends to shake their ass while they still can at her funeral in front of a musical backdrop that delivers a swirling mix of aggressive buzzing dance funk. The exhilarating brief blast of a track manages to make time for a mini drum snap and bumping bass/ripping trumpet duet; a true winner.

Not everything is as exciting though; “Everlasting Light” is fairly lightweight R&B even with David Shaw and Nahko onboard, while Princess Shaw vocally leads the way through “Straight Crazy”, the most straight ahead pop song the outfit has ever recorded. Moving back into their wheelhouse is the slippery instrumental “Goose Grease”, which the band dives into and explores gracefully.

Only eight songs, including brief intro and outro, the album isn’t as rich as past outings (such as the hip-hop experiment From the Corner To The Block, or the gorgeous snapshot of New Orleans music on 2010’s Ya-Ka-May). However, Galactic prove once again on Already Ready Already that they are willing to experiment with fellow Big Easy artists while exploring the dense musical past, present and future of their beloved city.    

Band photo by Melissa Stewart

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