April 10, 2014

Like cooking or chemistry, pop music blurs the lines between art and science: there’s magic in time-tested recipes and formulas, waiting to be amplified by special ingredients or catalysts. In the musical world, producers play the role of chef and chemist: their job is to cobble together discrete parts into a fulfilling, cohesive whole. EDM-pop duo Galantis is made up of two producers by trade — that’s Christian Karlsson, of Miike Snow and Britney Spears collaborators Bloodshy & Avant, and Linus Eklow, who’s worked with Icona Pop and solo as Style of Eye — and it shows in their compositions: their songs are impeccably structured, with titanic build-ups that crash and bloom into relentless choruses. In their hands, pop pleasure feels less like a mysterious connection than an undeniable physical truth: water boils into stream, baking soda and vinegar make for a wicked volcano, and synth hooks lodge themselves in listeners’ brains.

“You” is one of their best efforts yet, in large part because Karlsson and Eklow leave a little room to let their ingredients shine: there’s character in the blocky, bright piano chords that open the song up, and in the jangling rhythm that kicks in after the song’s Death Star chorus makes its first appearance. Those small touches give listeners something to hold onto when the song takes off, and they’re proof that the pros behind Galantis understand that devotion to form and streaks of humanity aren’t mutually exclusive propositions.

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