This dark-wave album from Calgaryborn musician, visual artist and
director Chad VanGaalen is, according to the man himself, one about “not
feeling comfortable with really anything.”
Despite that, however, his seventh album is saturated with the sentimental.
A complex interplay of light and dark sits at the thematic heart of this record, with VanGaalen stepping away from his preoccupation with
alienation and embracing emotions that span the spectrum;
disembodiment, intimacy, paranoia, and playfulness, to name a few.
VanGaalen further takes his musical direction into a fresh realm here with regards to its experimental nature and independent creation.
Indeed, while in ‘Static Shape’ he recruitshis young daughters Ezzy and Pip to sing vocals (too cute?),
on other tracks he introduces a Korg 770 monosynth dug from the deepest depths of his hoarder’s garage studio.
It’s all the culmination of sixyears work predating 2014’s ‘Shrink Dust’ LP; a warming and human collection of feelings and experiences from real relationships.
For me though, Moses Sumney’s debut album for Jagjaguwar comes as close to capturing the transient,
longing liminality that is the experience of looking for love in the twenty-first century as anything I’ve ever heard.
The track titles (‘Don’t Bother Calling’, ‘Lonely World’, ‘Make Out in My Car’, ‘The Cocoon Eyed Baby’, ‘Doomed’) could caption almost any Tinder date you’re likely to experience,
while the piercing, desperate melodies get right underneath that acute, most Reviews essential human need for connection.
Yes, sometimes Sumney – who’s risen on the LA scene since 2014 – has the propensity to go a little dramatic, like when he keens (“All my old lovers / have found others”
on ‘Indulge Me’), and have you seen the video for ‘Doomed’, where he floats, lifelessly, in a tank for four minutes, longing for “inverted tongue”?
But if overdramatic and self-indulgent are not the essence of the millennial
dating experience, then I’ve been doing it wrong for years.
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