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CVG_ShrinkDustLPJacket_WorkingOn this, his fifth full-length, Chad VanGaalen once again proves the curious, gripping songwriter we’ve come to know and cherish. Not one to stagnate, the rickety walls of his house and home studio (dubbed “‘Yoko Eno”), have this time played host to Chad the woozy country artist, who sporadically clambers atop the usual light stack of esoteric instruments brandishing a newly-acquired pedal steel. Don’t be fooled by that genre’s oft emotional burden and faux sincerity though, because thankfully he hasn’t ironed out any of his quirks or his freewheeling streak. On the opener he intimately wimpers, “Cut off both my hands and threw them in the sands/Watch them swim away from me like a pair of bloody crabs”, before a whirl of noise that sounds like the spontaneous combustion of a fairground. Frankly, it’s eccentrically charming and something that he proves elsewhere time and again, with the cooed loveliness of the ominously-titled ‘Evil’, as well as the swirling refrain and sprawling, gossamer of influences found on ‘Cosmic Destroyer’, making for wondrously floaty highpoints. 8/10

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE IN LOUD AND QUIET ISSUE 57

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