Disturbing melancholic freak-folk from the Canadian musician
To step into Chad VanGaalen’s world is to go through the looking-glass: up is down, black is white, and when you hack off your own appendages, they’ll swim blithely away “like a pair of bloody crabs”. So far, so… enchanting? Yeah, and the rest. The Canadian freak-folk savant’s fifth LP (under his own name; he’s released countless others under assorted guises) is a partial score to a self-directed sci-fi movie, but for all their aesthetic weirdness, there’s something deeply relatable about the flawed protagonists of ‘Weighed Sin’ and ‘Monster’, whose callow whimsy masks a more disquieting melancholia. This madcap might raise the occasional laugh, but inside he’s crying, and for all your voyeuristic unease, you won’t be able to look away.