Song Reviews

Chad VanGaalen: Where Are You

Chad VanGaalen

To be honest, I almost entirely overlooked Diaper Island, Chad VanGaalen’s 2011 LP on Sub Pop. It just didn’t have the same upbeat nature as his 2008 LP, Soft Airplane, a favorite of that year. His latest venture, Shrink Dust (out next month on Sub Pop), won’t succumb to the same fate.

This is apparent within the first minute of the stripped-down, subtle opening track “Cut Off My Hands”. And it continues with the percussive, voluptuous successor “Where Are You”.

Where Diaper Island failed to immediately draw me in, I viewed the first single (“Where Are You”) as a complete turnaround. Catchy, mesmerizing and delving into a bit of the psychedelic, this is exactly what VanGaalen needed to create to draw me back.

While not necessarily apparent on “Where Are You”, the new album for the first time finds VanGaalen incorporating an aluminum pedal steel guitar into his music. What fans will find consistent with prior LPs, though, is VanGaalen’s love for experimenting a bit, as well as thematic songwriting elements such as death, transformation, fear, love and evil.

Shrink Dust is Vangaalen’s fifth LP and will be released via Sub Pop on April 29 in the US and April 28 in the UK.

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