Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

CHAD VANGAALEN

Shrink Dust

2014-04-27

Chad VanGaalen is a visual artist and musician from Calgary, Alberta. His debut album, Infiniheart, was released in 2004, featuring his eccentric artwork.  Since then, VanGaalen has released three other records, including the Polaris short-listed Soft Airplane (2008). According to his official page, over the past decade, VanGaalen has been producing "living maps in songs, drawings, modified instruments, animations and performances--shifting forms pointing to another world, infinitely more liveable, maybe hidden just under the surface of our own."  His music has evolved to become an acoustic, electronic experience into this other world. VanGaalen's fifth studio album, Shrink Dust, features an aluminum pedal steel guitar, which VanGaalen spent over a year learning. This instrument unifies the album and leads VanGaalen to call it a country record, though the album still contains heavy rock and electronic influences. Themes of death, transformation, fear, benign evil, and the eccentricity of love draw the listener into VanGaalen's strange and often disorienting lyrics. "Cut Off My Hands" opens the albums with VanGaalen's eerie vocals, disturbing lyrics, unsettling harmonies, and dissonant instrumentation. From there, the album moves into songs with clear Southern influence, like "Lila" and "Evil," yet still contain the dread of VanGaalen's vocals.
Richard Martin

Quick Links:

More reviews tagged #Rock

  • reviewed 01/2016

    Murder Party
    Murder Party! EP

  • reviewed 11/2006

    BARENAKED LADIES
    Are Me

  • reviewed 02/2014

    GRAHAM COLTON
    Lonely Ones

  • reviewed 10/2004

    Cake
    Pressure Chief

  • reviewed 10/2013

    PATRICIA VONNE
    RATTLE MY CAGE

  • reviewed 02/2015

    B├śRNS
    Candy (EP)

Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.