Chad VanGaalen – “Where Are You?”
After a couple more numbers delivering his signature expansive sound (“Frozen Paradise” and “Lila”), the ringing pedal steel sound returns on “Weighted Sin” and builds on this newfound country sound with a dark post-chorus balancing harmonica and guttural vibratoed guitar, stepping outside of his typical wheelhouse, but not feeling out of character at all. Songs like this and “Hangman’s Son” position VanGaalen as the natural successor to Neil Young, picking up right where Harvest Moon left off.
The highly fantastical imagery of “Monster” is a definite album highlight, detailing a transformative voyage into another life-form, and he makes it sound like a damn good time too. This massive-sounding chorus is one that I can’t wait to hear thousands of people singing along with during his recently announced appearance at the Calgary Folk Festival later this summer.
The sublime journey through VanGaalen’s imagination continues with the blissed-out sounds of “Evil,” while “All Will Combine” evokes memories of The Jefferson Airplane in its nuanced guitar tones, and the menacing drone intro of “Weird Love” settles into a lilting pace and allows the “Baby let your hair hang down” vibe to wash over you like the first grips of an acid trip.