Disturbing melancholic freak-folk from the Canadian musician

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Chad VanGaalen - 'Shrink Dust'

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Chad VanGaalen – ‘Shrink Dust’

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.

Barry Nicolson

Details

Record label:Sub Pop
Release date:28 Apr, 2014