June 1st, 2011
The mysterious and reclusive Calgary artist Chad VanGaalen, whose previous albums were recorded in a basement studio, has emerged, literally and figuratively.
The new album and his fourth, titled Diaper Island—VanGaalen is a father to a three-year-old girl, hence memories of diapers—was recorded in a much larger recording room with a straightforward approach, resulting in it being called the closest thing he’s ever done to a rock album.
There are still plenty of VanGaalen-isms on the album like musings on life and death and instrumentally layered jams (it was recorded on a vintage tape machine after all). But as most critics would agree (us included), it’s “Sara,” a lovely, whistling ditty, and ode to VanGaalen’s partner, that is the apple of the album’s eye. —MG