Chad VanGaalen - Shrink Dust

Every word is intended, never inferred.

Chad VanGaalen has called this, his fifth record, ‘a folk album’. Perhaps ‘Shrink Dust’ is in its structure and themes on difficulty in love and life, but there’s another subgenre at play as it is also an essay on the nature of transformation and loss. His love of multi-instrumentalism is evident as both acoustic and electric guitars are swaddled in moaning cymbals, peppered with discordant synths and rocked gently to sleep by a wandering woodwind in the opening track ‘Cut Off My Hands’. There’s an acute mix of natural and modified sounds, with tracks such as ‘Where Are You’, the music hall acoustics creates a reverb that breaks down the partitions between each instrument, merging them all into a singular wall of sound.

With visual lyrics, VanGaalen disembodies the human and transforms it into something other worldly. His hands are ‘… like a pair of bloody crabs’ (‘Cut Off My Hands’), while his ‘head was buried underneath the stone…’ (‘Weighed Sin’), and ‘…two bright hands […] grew out of my shoulders’ (‘Monster’). There is a metamorphosis in process here, which, for any other artist would have been a metaphor, but Chad’s lyrical vision finds the concrete in the abstract. Every word is intended, never inferred.

‘Weighed Sin’ is where the tenderness in his voice is really heard, as his verses slips from soprano to alto like a silk dress gradually sliding to the floor. Distinctly shying away from the commercial, Chad VanGaalen is an explorative soul and although his frightening world is separate from ours, he makes a peaceful journey of it.

Tags: Chad VanGaalen, Reviews, Album Reviews

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