Casey Chandler — also known as Galapaghost — faced tragedy after tragedy last year. Testicular cancer, the sudden death of his father, and a miscarriage are enough to leave someone with questions about this life. Chandler describes himself as feeling like a planet without an atmosphere — a state that gave name to his latest collection of tracks.
Chandler plays all the instruments on the EP while producing his music independently. What you get here is pure creative control, and the results work harmoniously.
Chandler works through the personal most concretely on the cleverly titled “Test Stick Uhaul Her Can, Sir?”, which even includes his surname in the lyrics and the gut-wrenching line, “Took care of my body but it still just failed me.” The track prominently features the strumming of a guitar — a shift from the other tracks — and takes on a melancholy refrain.
Expanding on the title of the EP, “Smother Nature” expresses frustration with the way the world is reacting in the wake of the current climate crisis. Perhaps the best line of the record is found here: “It was just an elephant. I guess it wasn’t meant to survive. But they will regenerate, as long as you give them all your thoughts and prayers.” Oof.
And among the darkness explored on A Planet Without An Atmosphere (the closing track is a heavy, mystic celebration of the synthesizer), there is also a sense of melodic pop spirit. The opening title track finds jumpy and sweet tune to open the album and blends seamlessly into the rest of the release.
Chandler found creative energy, somehow, in the wake of tragedy, and used his voice to reach out with honesty and lushness. This EP is one that is worth having on repeat.