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- Diaper Island by Chad VanGaalen
9/10 Li'l Biz Staff review, 08 July 2011
Chad Vangaalen is a singer-songwriter, producer, engineer and illustrator/animator from, I believe, Calgary (commonly known as Cowtown, so I've been told). After a particularly successful stint recording Women's second album 'Public Strain', Mr. Vangaalen has taken the opportunity to absorb what he learned from those sessions and apply it to his new solo opus. Now, I'm not familiar with Vangaalen's previous three albums but this instantly clicks with me, mainly due to my fond relationship with the grower of an LP that is 'Public Strain'. Adopting these ghostly recording techniques has totally paid off on 'Diaper Island' with tracks like 'Peace Is On The Rise' (you should definitely check out the amazing 'Gandahar'-esque animated video that accompanies this track) and 'Do Not Fear' being particularly effective, the former coming of like a blend of Women and O'Rourke/Murray Street era Sonic Youth. And when he chooses to kick up the tempo as on 'Burning Photographs' and 'Replace Me' I wonder to myself how I've managed to remain oblivious of Vangaalen's obvious, yet subtle creative charm for so long. The remaining tracks took a little while to sink in (as was the case with the much of 'Public Strain') but once you fill the gaps it becomes apparent that 'Diaper Island' is a delightfully consistent listen throughout. A perfect blend of Neil Young's passionate songwriter style and The Velvet's distinctively lo-fi dirge with a little of Thee Oh Sees, classic British psych and a few Beck-isms thrown in for good measure. Sub Pop's secret weapon in my opinion. Why they don't sign better bands is beyond me.
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