Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

"Shrink Dust"

Release date: 05 May 2014
Chad Van Gaalen Shrinkdust
29 April 2014, 17:30 Written by Slavko Bucifal
Chad VanGaalen is seemingly worlds apart from the rest of us. His music, visual designs and concepts flow from places few have travelled. He thrives in a jangly atmosphere of swirling electronic meditations that attempt to whisk away the folky acoustic underpinnings which sometimes get reformed into glorious pop choruses. He writes about severing his hands and watching their bloody crab like shapes disappear, perhaps searching for a better existence. His drawings often depict humans in alien like forms so that they are both beautiful and grotesque at the same time. His thoughts are seemingly random and range from disturbing to delightful. At the end of it all, he has created a place that feels light years away but actually exists in our own backyard.

Shrink Dust is CVG’s fifth studio album. Overall, the effect is a bit of a deconstruction from his previous efforts which felt liked they belonged on a more grandiose stage but never really achieved that attention. Electing to strip down the weirder elements into a more minimalist approach, Shrink Dust is really about a guy and his guitar singing songs that previously might have been composed in outer space instead of his home town in Alberta, Canada. Though at times electronic swirls and harmonies distract us, there is an aura of contentment about the whole thing. It is true that the tracks are not as sticky as his oddly titled but super infectious Diaper Island or Soft Airplane albums, but there is a consistency on Shrink Dust that abstains from hitting emotional peaks and valleys. Nothing feels too urgent here and for the majority of record, there is a sense of intimacy and closeness even if it exists in some far away vacuum. Musical touches like the slide guitar in “Weighed Sin” and “Hangman’s Son” creates more of a country feel, the sort of thing one would expect to hear as soundtrack in their head when standing at their own personal crossroads. The eerie but beautiful harmonies for which CVG is known seem to stand out more given that their accompaniment is often minimal. Interesting to note that CVG initially wanted for release this record under a different moniker to separate himself from this alternate universe. We are glad he didn’t. Shrink Dust is still very much a CVG record, just one that you can cozy up with a little easier.

Now all this is true except for two out of the twelve tracks which stand out quite significantly from the organic vibe. “Where Are You” and “Frozen Paradise” both feature a prominent drum loop and feel slightly more distant than the other tracks, but offer perhaps the greatest opportunity to join in on a sing-a-long. For the remainder of the record, we are happy to welcome a prolific song writer who views humanity as mutant and foreign, who is obsessed with the natural and supernatural worlds, and who is not afraid to venture in to the darkness to tug out the light.

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