Galahad electric Company

I had a very pleasant surprise last week when Galahad frontman Stu Nicholson arrived at my front door with a hand-delivered version of a new album “When The Battle Is Over”. The album is a lockdown side project that features Stu and the band’s virtuoso electronics wizard Dean Baker reactivating the name of the Galahad Electric Company for the first time in over 20 years. The full band due to the COVID 19 restrictions and their various locations around the UK have prevented them from getting together for well over six months.

Stu explained “most of the album was written between the middle of May and the end of June 2020 and is split into two distinct sections; the first part being “Suite 2020”, a self-explanatory and somewhat ironic title which consists of five linked tracks. The second half of the album consists of five separate tracks, somewhat diverse in nature. Also; due to more constraints than normal as far as the recording process was concerned, a certain amount of experimentation was involved with some of the songs; a few of which were ad-libbed and written in an almost “stream of consciousness” manner! This is the first album we have ever recorded whereby neither of us have actually been in the same building at the same time at any point”.

The album gave me a great excuse to take a trip out into the wondrous Dorset countryside, along the River Stour with my quality set of Sony blue-tooth headphones and my two beagles to see just what Stu and Dean had been up too. The opening introduction piece confused me initially as I was not sure if the bird sound was coming through my headphones or was real. It was just the gentle opener “Restoration”; which is the beginning of a well thought out, relevant piece of work that details the current difficult times that we are currently living in. The title track kicks off with some haunting piano before infectious electronic rhythms kick in and Stu’s unmistakable vocal delivers a few deep thoughts to ponder on. Though it has plenty of dark undertones, there is an ultimate message of positivity and looking forward to better times.

The gentle advice continues with “Be Careful”, a spoken-word piece cleverly put together with a mystic landscape of different sounds and textures. “All That Binds Us” tackles all the difficulties that the human race has when it comes to tolerance of the differences we all have between us. The song is an uplifting piece of work that tries to simplify the situation that has always been there between different races, colours and creeds. It’s just suggesting rather than fight, we just need to celebrate all that binds us. An optimistic piece and one that clearly comes from the heart. The final track of the suite 2020 of the quintet is “The Inquisition (Intermezzo)” with a short instrumental which features some heavy rhythms and dark textures.

Things turn on their head with some ambient dance styles next and Stu has a vocal delivery a little like that of Maxi Jazz of British electronica band ‘Faithless’. He’s not quite tearing off tights with his teeth on the heath, but the duo’s experimentation continues with something very refreshingly different to anything heard by them before. “Mysterioso” is next and the songs features some ambient meow’s from Stu’s cat “Sammy Gorgeous” which intertwines this mesmerising piece with its big soaring chorus and huge electronic melodies. One of my favourites of this collection is 1976, which is a song that takes us back to simpler times. By my calculation, Stu would have been around 12 years old at that time and was enjoying the extended heatwave with 16 consecutive days over 30°C. That summer there would have been plenty of fun with football in the garden, playing in the treehouse and possibly his first beer. It’s a song that reminds us all of the years we think of from the past from much simpler, less complicated times. We all quite possibly took many things for granted before the pandemic and once (hopefully) it is over, we can appreciate things a lot more.

Galahad electric Company

Imagine a country accent like comedian Paul Whitehouse of “The Fast Show” might put through some reverb, well that’s what Stu sounds like on “My Orcha’d In Linden Lea”. The song is an adaptation of a poem by the famous 19th Century Dorset dialect poet and friend of Thomas Hardy; William Barnes, set in Linden Lea. The poem is beautifully put to music with some amazing work by Dean, who gets things just right with the delicate melodies to support Stu’s vocal in the original 19th Century Dorset dialect “An’ there vor me the apple tree Do leän down low in Linden Lea” bringing this poem to life and highlighting it to a new generation of listeners.

The collection concludes with quite a simpler song in comparison to the others. “Open Water” is just a vocal coupled with some graceful piano and tells of the perils of the wide-open sea for a duck. Though simple it’s very quaint and a great way to end this alluring collection of songs. You can hear a whole host of influences here: dance, folk, ambient, krautrock and even opera and gospel influences scattered throughout. It’s an album that would not have been making if it weren’t for the COVID 19 pandemic, it marks a certain point in time giving something very delightfully different. It gave me no end of entertainment on my mid-September romp in the Dorset countryside with my dogs.

“When The Battle Is Over” from Avalon Records will be available to purchase on Monday 5th October on CD from the official Galahad website, as well as from the Galahad Bandcamp site where it can also be downloaded/streamed. It will also be available from all the usual online platforms. An EP; “Open Water” will also feature a new version of an old Galahad classic from the mid-1980s ’Through The Looking Glass, which has been re-worked and re-recorded by Stu and Dean. The single will be available to download/stream from Monday 14th September from the official Galahad Bandcamp site as well as from Apple Music, Amazon etc.

Suite 2020

Restoration (Intro)
When the Battle is Over
Be Careful…
All that Binds Us
The Inquisition (Intermezzo)
Letting Go
My Orcha’d in Linden Lea
Open Water


Words by David Chinery (Chinners).

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