Review: CHAD VANGAALEN // Soft Airplane

October 6, 2009

Chad VanGaalen

Ladies and gentlemen, the Polaris was rigged! We all know that the most insane, ballsy, irreverent and art-before-anything-else album was made in Calgary last year.  And no, not by Jann Arden.  (ahem?)  Right.  (And yeah, every Canadian city has a couple embarassing musical exports.  Winnipeg even named its finest theatre after some schmuck named Burton Cummings.)

But this is not a post about the schmucks! No. Its about Chad VanGaalen, doing a marvelous job of marrying the twisted spirits of The Unicorns and Sonic Youth into one neat little basement-living, mold-on-the-walls-while-you-sit-building-weird-instruments kind of thing.

Inside The Molecules throbs with electro glee and then simplifies, a push/pull that ultimately ends up with you in a sandbox with a bunch of thumb pianos.  Bones Of Man has a Springsteen-esque clarity of melody and arrangement that we’ve not heard from Chad before – a maturing of his pop sensibility.  Poisonous Heads sounds like the brains of a thousand Okotoks residents slowly melting to form a lake that will swallow Calgary.  And Molten Light (if you’ve been living in a cave and haven’t yet learnt of this YouTube thing) may just be the greatest video since MuchMusic stopped playing videos.  Or, well, at least since Beyonce’s.

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