When Young Galaxy called their 2011 breakthrough album Shapeshifting, they were making a statement, and indeed, they were shifting toward something new. For their new record, the quintet have gone full-on pop, so fans of one of the previous album's stand-out tracks, the irresistible 'We Have Everything', will feel right at home with Ultramarine, the Canadian band's most accomplished album to date. They've come a long way since their formation, and they can go further still. They certainly have the songs to get them there. Working with Dan Lissvik for Shapeshifting produced rich rewards for the band, so it comes as no surprise that they stuck with him. However, the twist this time around is that they worked with Lissvik in his studio in Sweden. Vancouver to Gothenburg is quite a journey to make to record an album, but the band benefited hugely from uprooting themselves to give Ultramarine some legs.

They also recorded the songs live, as four people in a room (as opposed to what they did previously, parts being sent to Lissvik over email), and this means that there is vitality and energy present in even the slowest of songs on the record. Quite a lot of it is up-tempo, however, and it kicks off with the uplifting dance-pop of 'Pretty Boy', a song which displays the band's new-found confidence, as well as their updated, slick dance-pop sound. Accessibility is their watchword now, and the sonic shift is also marked by the fact that keyboard player Catherine McCandless has taken over lead vocals after stealing the spotlight from lead guitarist Stephen Ramsay. The two founding members are on fire throughout, Ramsay's playing adding an extra dimension to songs like 'Fall For You' and hidden gem 'Out the Gate Backwards'. Similarly, McCandless's vocals are the most powerful they've ever been (case in point, 'New Summer'), but Young Galaxy have grown considerably since it was just those two in the band, and having five members in the band means that their ethereal sound can be fully realised.

As immediate as Ultramarine is as a whole, there are a number of growers on the album, mainly popping up during the album's middle section. It's often that the less instant songs can eventually have the biggest impact, however, and the combination of 'Hard to Tell' and 'What We Want' may take time, but it eventually becomes the point at which the album becomes genuinely special. Darker shades start to creep in from here, manifesting themselves in earnest on 'In Fire', standing out as a slightly more downbeat track that is great on its own, but is sandwiched between the two best songs on the album; namely the aforementioned 'Out the Gate Backwards' and the pitch-perfect pop of 'Privileged Poor' (which really needs to be the next single, if anyone at Paper Bag should happen to read this). Ultramarine is an uplifting and optimistic record in the main, however, and draws to a close on just as high a note as it began with the exquisite 'Sleepwalk With Me'. Their metamorphosis is complete, and Young Galaxy have become a band that should be treasured.