To be honest, I almost entirely overlooked Diaper Island, Chad VanGaalenâ€™s 2011 LP on Sub Pop. It just didnâ€™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), wonâ€™t succumb to the same fate.
This is apparent within the first minute of the stripped-down, subtle opening track â€œCut Off My Handsâ€. And it continues with the percussive, voluptuous successor â€œWhere Are Youâ€.
Where Diaper Island failed to immediately draw me in, I viewed the first single (â€œWhere Are Youâ€) 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 â€œWhere Are Youâ€, 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 VanGaalenâ€™s love for experimenting a bit, as well as thematic songwriting elements such as death, transformation, fear, love and evil.
Shrink Dust is Vangaalenâ€™s fifth LP and will be released via Sub Pop on April 29 in the US and April 28 in the UK.