Eight years after II, a lot has changed in life. In ours, in yours, and in the Gala Drop’s own. Many times, without us realizing it, with those two years of a semi-latent existence leaving a persistent fog and the predatory gentrification changing the panorama of Lisbon that created and gives shelter and experiences to the band since always. An always that reaches almost a decade and a half, with several mutations along the way to dictate moments of pause, reflection and new perspectives of a sound that has also been mutable at its own pace and agency, guided since 2009 by the hardcore formed by Afonso Simões and Nélson Gomes. With Rui Dâmaso transitioning from II, Gala Drop are now a trio, after the departures of Jerry the Cat and Guilherme Canhão. With this triangulation bringing a focus to the band’s music, Amizade lives up to its name in a celebration with a panoramic view but never scattered over the cartography that the band has explored with singular and already patented understanding and belt game. The hypnosis and expansiveness of krautrock, the deviant space of dub, the pulsation of house, the dreams of balearic, polyrhythms of various latitudes and the communal tuning of real and still possible encounters and epiphanies in the city.
And all this vast field of knowledge reappears here again, always ready for new inspirations and turns, but in an even more succinct and channeled way to a music that, nowadays, we can only understand as Gala Drop’s. With the trio work enhancing naturally that same direction, in a residence promoted by gnration in Braga that made possible its recording, Amizade reveals all the psychedelic potential of the band in seven concise meshes, of meticulous but never forced work, made of synthesizer cascades, liquid bass lines, a lot of percussion in a fine line between the organic and the electronic, echoes, paused guitars and a joyful feeling that irradiates. Everything is revealed. Never had the band been so blatantly dubby as on ‘Midnight Dub’ and ‘Areal Dub’ nor lined up distinctive historical moments of the UK hardcore continuum – pianola in rave euphoria and cut up vocals – in a slow burner as memorable as ‘Monte do Ouro’. Or, leaving aside the collusion with Ben Chasny on Broda, unleashed the guitars in a torrent of distortion as on the narcotic woosh of ‘Flying Guitar’. ‘Friendship’ indicts it all as blissful escapism and at the end, ‘Ray’ transmutes the rhythmic meditation of the original dubstep into a funky cosmic crescendo. Hugs. Because we are increasingly in need of connection, and despite all the fog that covers these times, we can at least for now, celebrate together. This album is here for that. BS