Galley Beggar – Heathen Hymns
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Label: Rise Above Records
While running a hard rock/metal blog, things can get a bit too loud and sometimes I find myself needing an escape hatch of sorts into something that is sonically lesser in volume. While some may find themselves dishing out that tired “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” bullshit, others will totally get what I’m saying. Sometimes I find myself wanting take that musical pill that makes me smaller (or tall if you will) and to just lose myself in some kind of deep, ethereal, musical landscape. Recently a door to that landscape was opened for me thanks to a little band out of London/Kent called Galley Beggar.
Galley Beggar first popped up on my radar back in 2015 with their album Silence and Tears. While I definitely had a soft spot for that album, for some odd reason it just didn’t stick with me. Fast forward to 2017 when I heard that Galley Beggar would be releasing a new album called Heathen Hymns. I immediately found myself re-discovering Silence and Tears and all of the sudden I felt a connection that I didn’t feel the first time around. The fact that I had this new found love for this band and their music had me very eager to hear what their follow up would hold for me.
Upon receiving my advance of Heathen Hymns, I put aside all work that I was doing and diverted my attention from any and all distractions. This was an album that I wanted to give my full attention to. The moment the opening track “Salome” started, I just closed my eyes and I began to feel as if I was settling in for some fantastic, musical journey. I found myself complete taken by “Four Birds” which had Galley Beggar taking a step in a a more psych rock direction which was an unexpected but exciting detour. “The Girl I Left Behind Me” wrapped me up in a cloak of warmth as their Doors-esque instrumental jams took me to a whole new plane of consciousness. “The Lake” really took me to a whole new level with it’s Beatle-esque use of sitar and lush two part harmonies while “Moon and Tide” was a moment in the album where I felt I was achieving a feeling of weightlessness. Heathen Hymns was really taking me places and I was more than happy to succumb to it’s powers.
Honestly, I could go on for pages and pages trying to describe the greatness of Heathen Hymns song for song because honestly, it is work of perfection. The emotive and organic vocals of Maria O’Donnell song after song carried me like a river carrying a raft; at times turbulent only to soften to a gentle flow. The band as a whole plays with a sort of artistic telepathy leading each other thorough subtle and at times dramatic changes in dynamic. This is not an easy thing to do yet Galley Beggar accomplishes it like a band that has been doing this for decades.
Heathen Hymns is a modern timeless album of 60’s laden psychedelic folk rock. Pulling from influences such as The Doors, Fairport Convention, Donovan, and Jethro Tull, Galley Beggar has found a way to create something that is distinctly their own and more than welcomed breath of fresh air or even a splash of cool water. Galley Beggar should have no problem finding a home in the ears of fans of anyone who loves truly good music such as Graveyard, Jess and the Ancient Ones, and/or even more traditional folkies such as Crosby Stills and Nash or even Joan Baez.
You must be thinking, “This dude was high as fuck when he wrote this.” Believe it or not, I wasn’t. The music was so good on it’s own that it had me feeling all of these things without the aid of any green stuff. With Heathen Hymns, Galley Beggar has managed to create a whole new chapter in modern psych rock that hopefully will be filled in by other bands not afraid to expose their roots and crossover into a genre of music not expecting them but more than welcoming them. Heathen Hymns is not merely background music and it is so much more than just another album. Heathen Hymns is a collection of songs for the mind, for the spirit, and for the soul. This is music that is capable of making you feel something and taking you someplace truly magical. You just have to hear it to understand and when you do, you will.
To pick up a copy of Heathen Hymns, head over to https://www.amazon.com/Heathen-Hymns-Galley-Beggar/dp/B06XN6H2H9
For more on Galley Beggar, check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/galleybeggarmusic/