Galantis is one of those powerhouse collaborations you never really expect to happen, but makes perfect sense when it does. Featuring Christian Karpsson, a.k.a. Bloodshy of the production duo Bloodshy & Avant and producer of pop hits like Britney Spears’ Toxic, alongside Linus Eklöw or Style of Eye, one of the producers behind Icona Pop’s hit single with Charli XCX I Love It, there’s a real history of strong pop music behind the both of them. On paper, a dance album produced by these two pop legends would be a thing of beauty.
And in a way, Pharmacy is exactly what you would expect. Every track is made for the top 10, with slow starts and earnest vocals building to that peak point where the song just boils over and drops into a euphoric instrumental break that you can’t help but dance to. It’s a progressive house album with a strong pop twist, the defining point that makes it stand out more than the normal DJ produced album.
The album starts with the best example of the sound, Forever Tonight, which builds perfectly beginning with simple chime sounds, followed by vocals and a repetitive piano line before bringing the electronics in and exploding into a gigantic dance number with an amazing hook. Two songs later, In My Head uses the same structure but with a heavy piano hook that makes it shine for entirely different reasons, with a stronger pre-chorus utilising powerful female vocals to drive it home. Peanut Butter Jelly has more energy than the previous songs before the drop, instead lining the instrumental section with heavily sampled strings to set it apart, with heavily edited vocals on top to finish it off.
While these songs make good use of a similar formula, this also leads to the album’s main problem. The remainder of the songs all feature the exact build-up from nothing into a dance break. Songs often feature similar elements that can make it almost impossible to tell the difference between it. In fact, this occurs even at the beginning of the album, with Runaway (U & I) coming directly after In My Head and sounding very similar to each other. While Runaway (U & I) was a single before the album, making In My Head the copycat track, it also does its job better than the single which makes it stand out more, especially if you hadn’t heard Runaway (U & I) before listening to the album.
By the end of the album, stellar tracks stop appearing and it all starts entering the stage where they’re just okay rather than noteworthy. There are some obvious standout tracks on the album, and they’re often more enjoyable than what the long-established DJs have put out recently. Outside of them it’s more of a mix album for parties rather than something to sit down and listen to constantly. When the album reaches a high note, it hits it out of the park. When looking at it as a complete package, Pharmacy is a good listen, but not good enough to forgive the stagnant production.