Today’s POP RESCUE from a loveless future, is the debut 1997 album Come Into My Life by Italian dance act, Gala.
This 11 track album opens with the gentle synthscapes of Keep The Secret, beginning like some kind of Enya track. Even Gala’s vocals sound like they’re only a moment away from an Irish accent. Some synth pan pipes play over a bassline, before a dance beat arrives. The vocals are minimal and sometimes weirdly wandering, over a simple beat and keyboard synth and bass. It’s a weird place to begin.
Some acidy synths and a pumping beat usher in the title track Come Into My Life. Gala’s vocals here continue their minimal wanderings. She really needs some backing vocalists. The remix of this (included later in the album) was the third and final single from the album, and it stalled at #38 in the UK charts. This version feels somewhat unnecessary.
Third track Suddenly comes in with some dramatic drums. Whilst this song is pretty similar in composition to the earlier songs, this one does have a better bouncy feel to it. The bass synth, and slight variation in the beats allow it to feel like it’s growing. Gala’s vocals feel more confident here, and she’s helped with her own backing vocals ‘ooh‘-ing in the background.
Freed From Desire (Slow Version) is up next. This version is much slower than the hit single version, opening with a plethora of percussion and a slinky bassline. Gala’s vocals are far softer here than the dance hit. By the time of the chorus, you find that this version is somewhat hypnotic.
This is followed by second single Let A Boy Cry, and this track has a sense of dance about it. At times Gala’s vocals sound a bit flat and not unlike those of Divine. However, musically this song definitely lifts the tempo and sound up somewhat, and Gala’s vocals fit perfectly in the chorus.
The next track Summer Eclipse, opens with some beautifully intricate acoustic guitar from Tonino Baliardo of The Gypsy Kings. This makes for a wonderful gentle percussive song, and Gala’s dreamy, softer, vocals fit this perfectly. It sounds like something you’d find on the Café del Mar album series, very summertime, very chilled, and the percussion shuffles along. Beautiful.
Dance Or Die is up next, and as the sleeve shows, there’s only four words to the lyrics of this song – “I’ll Dance Or Die“. The song has a good bubbling bass synth and dance beat, but there’s little else to it.
Next up is the first of three mixes, with this one – Come Into My Life (Molell & Phil Jay Edit) – having been used as the single. The mix does at least make more of this song by giving it more percussion and a stronger bass and beat. This edit does make the song feel a little more dancey, catchy, and memorable, but it’s Gala’s vocals here that probably kept the single version of the song down in the lower 30s of the chart.
Soft synths and piano open 10 O’Clock, followed by some organ. This track is slower, with a chugging beat. Gala’s vocals waft through it effortlessly, but she’s weaker during the chorus.
Then, it’s time for that great hit single Freed From Desire. The handclaps, the beats, drum fills, whirling synths and that bassline, and of course that catchy ‘ner ner ner ner-ner ner her‘ section. This track gave her a #2 hit in the UK and a wave of attention as she performed it all over Europe. As a 90s dance record, it is a fine specimen. Here, sitting alongside most of these other tracks, it feels a bit oddly placed. If only the rest of the album had received the same treatment.
The album closes with remix Let A Boy Cry (Motiv 8 Radio Edit), again this mix gives us a much improved version of the track. Unlike the earlier version, Gala’s vocals sound better here, and the beats, synth and bass really help to keep this track bouncing along into it’s catchy Italia house piano-laden chorus. Whilst this is no Freed From Desire, this remix makes it a much stronger track.
Over all, this album will be a disappointing listen if you’re expecting the energy of her big hit single to fill this album. It doesn’t. Whilst it does feel somewhat dated here in 2015, and would no doubt have felt fresher and more ‘of the moment’ back in 1997, it does feel somewhat unfinished. Vocals are minimal, and really really needed backing vocals on most of the tracks to help Gala’s voice lift during the big moments in each song, where instead she sounds too weak and at times a little wobbly. The beats and synths are simple, which is okay, but with these minimal sounding tracks, it just leaves them feeling empty. The beautiful and inspired Summer Eclipse track added weight to my wonder of whether Gala was intentially a dance act, or whether someone picked her up, remixed her, gave her a hit, and then left us with the realisation that it was just a one-off.
Where is Gala now?
After the failure of third single Come Into My Life, and the non-charting of this album in the UK, Gala has not appeared in the UK charts since.
However, after a brief period signed to Universal via Prince’s former manager, Gala moved to New York where she has continued recording.
She has released a string of singles in Europe, scoring another #1 single with Faraway in Greece in 2005. She released her second album Tough Love on her own label in 2010, and a remix album Singles V1 in 2015.
POP RESCUE RATING
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 2 / 5
- 1997 UK CHART POSITION: Failed to chart.
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.99 from an eBay seller.