Life has changed in the eight years since the release of II. In ours, yours and Gala Drop themselves. Most times without noticing it, partly due to those two years of a semi-existence that still resonates and with the ongoing predatory gentrification process changing the landscape and life of Lisbon, home to the band since ever. Close to a decade and a half of existence, with various mutations along the way enacting new perspectives and moments of stillness and reflection to a sound that's been mutating itself to its own internal rhythm and agency under the guiding light of the core duo of Afonso Simões and Nélson Gomes. Now a trio, with Rui Dâmaso transitioning from II after the departure of Jerry the Cat and Guilherme Canhão, Gala Drop sound even more focused as a working band, with their new album title Amizade – friendship in Portuguese – making perfect sense in a celebration of their, by now, patented soundworld of cosmic inspiration: krautrock's endless and hypnotic potential, dub's sense of transient space, the throb of house, balearic dreams, polyrhythms and a communal sense of belonging.
Again, this sprawling sphere of influence opens itself to new shapes and inspirations, but there's a deeper sense of accuracy and direction, with the band channeling those legacies into something we can only grasp as the Gala Drop sound. An organic outcome of working steadily as a trio, made possible by a residency promoted by gnration in Braga, Amizade dwells on the psychedelic nature of the group through seven tracks made up of dreamy synth washes, loads of percussion, echoes, chilled guitars under a radiant aura. Gala Drop have never sounded as openly dubby as on 'Dub da Meia Noite' and 'Areal Dub' or capable of converging different tropes of the hardcore continuum – rave stabs and cut up vocals – on a slow burner as memorable as 'Monte do Ouro'. Or given free reign to electricity as on the narcotic guitars of 'Guitarra Voadora' – excepting the one off with Ben Chasny on 2012's Broda. 'Amizade' points towards all of that with comforting escapism and wrapping things up 'Raio' turns dubstep's original bass weight meditations into a cosmic funk workout. One last hug before we leave. An album that feels like a collective moment of celebration, just when we most need it.