If you’re familiar with any of bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman’s past projects, then Galactic Cross’s debut album is very familiar territory. The stoner/sludge style is right in line with Earthride and Weed is Weed, among others, as the songs are driven by groovy southern riffs with Sherman’s grungy wheeze right at the forefront. But while these familiar elements risk feeling redundant, there’s enough going on to make for an engaging listen.
For starters, the songwriting has a lot going on in its thirty-two-minute runtime. Things start off simple enough with the swaggering sludge of “Spellbound” and “Lonely Unicorn,” but the album quickly throws in a couple curveballs as “Nominal Confusion” reaches back to the Spirit Caravan days with its spacy instrumentation that is followed up by the Motorhead homage savagery of “Electric Ghost.” “Hollywood Truther” and the band’s self-titled song may be the biggest highlights though, thanks to their doomy desert runs.
The musicianship well suits the varied moods on display, even if the performances themselves aren’t that flashy. The guitars, in particular, are executed incredibly well, benefitting from a full face of fuzz, whether aiming for chunky riffs or hazy psychedelics. The rhythm section is tight, even if the bass might’ve benefitted from a more prominent spot in the mix, and the vocals have a haggard character that never belittles the melodicism underneath.
Galactic Cross’s debut will best satisfy listeners who are craving for another Earthride or Weed is Weed album, but it is an enjoyable slice of Maryland doom in itself. There’s some great song variety presented in this well-worn style, and you can tell the band members are having a lot of fun with it. There’s room for further development, but when comfort is this well-executed, anything else is just a bonus.