THE GALILEO 7 – You, Me and Reality

Track list:

  • 1 Can't Go Home
  • 2 You, Me and Reality
  • 3 A Quiet Place
  • 4 Slow Down
  • 5 I Know What I Know
  • 6 Rain is Falling
  • 7 Seen Somehow
  • 8 Blind Eyes Open
  • 9 The Man Who Was Thursday
  • 10 Lazy
  • 11 A Simple Man
  • 12 Something in Your Eyes

Since the early 80’s Allan Crockford has been a major figure in Medway’s garage rock scene, including playing for The Prisoners, Billy Childish’s Thee Headcoats, the original line-up of the James Taylor Quartet, The Solarflares and many more. SInce 2010 he has fronted his own band, The Galileo 7, as writer, guitarist, and lead vocalist. Their unique blend of powerful ‘60s garage rock’n’roll, psychedelic vocal harmonies and quality songwriting has now featured on no less than eight albums, including two on Damaged Goods. Their third, You, Me and Reality is out on 1st March 2024.

An appreciation…

Triumph over adversity? The phoenix from the ashes?

A little dramatic perhaps, but the road that led to the completion of You, Me & Reality ­– the ninth (or possibly eighth) album by The Galileo 7 – was a bumpy one.

Hatched during the first lockdown of 2020, the quartet of Allan Crockford, Viv Bonsels, Paul Moss and Mole grabbed sessions where and when they could, utilising London’s Gizzard Studios and Mole’s own North Down Sound, employing some deft remote recording skills along the way. (2020’s covers set Decayed and 2021’s Listening To The Colours mini-album were made the same way, not that you’d know.) Health problems, bereavement and the multifarious complications of COVID and its fallout – including the sudden disappearance of the live stage: the environment in which The Galileo 7 excel – could easily have knocked our heroes on their collective arse. Instead, You, Me & Reality sounds like the work of a seasoned rock ’n’ roll band dialling things up one and approaching its zenith.

The group performances ooze energy and dynamics – whether it’s the garage ramalama of opener ‘Can’t Go Home’, the woozy psychedelics of ‘Slow Down’, the chipper folk-rock of ‘A Simple Man’ or the ’60s mod-pop stomp of the title track. As with 2019’s last album proper, There Is Only Now, all four group members share lead vocal duties, with Viv’s contributions adding an affecting indie-pop flavour that coyly suggests new directions. You, Me & Reality largely eschews its predecessor’s predilection for ambling unplugged off the beaten path, instead sticking with up-tempo ensemble performances that showcase the players’ musical chops and vocal interplay in the kind of warm, fizzy, analogue soundscape that’s become a touchstone of many Medway bands.

If there is a noticeable shift here, it’s in the occasionally dark tone of the lyrics, and their confrontation of life’s trials and tribulations. “It’s quite a sombre album in places,” offers Allan. Nowhere is this more affecting than on ‘A Quiet Place’: “I’m losing you but I don’t think you know it,” he sings on one of the album’s highlights, and most melodically satisfying pieces. “A quiet place for a last word / To find relief in a new world.”

To add further colour to the album’s gestation, as it neared completion, Allan found himself in the unlikely position of starting work on a new album by The Prisoners. “I was juggling contributing material for two bands. A bit of a brain fry at times!” While the 40th anniversary reunion of his old band may be garnering headlines, the music of The Galileo 7 – the aggregation that’s outgrown its humble origins as “a DIY outlet for Allan Crockford’s songwriting ambitions” – equally deserves your attention.

Andy Morten, Shindig!, December 2023