Chad Vangaalen - Soft Airplane
- Artist: Chad Vangaalen
- Album: Soft Airplane
- Label: Flemish Eye/Sub Pop
- Year of Release: 2008
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: MusicCritic on 2011-06-13
Calgary seems to be on a role in the last few years. The littlest big city in the confederation seems to be pumping out quality artists in number disproportionate to its size. With Leslie Feist leading the cavalcade (yes, I’m including Feist), Cow-town now has groups like the Dudes, Azeda Booth, Pitchfork-darlings Women, and, most importantly, the gentle giant known at Chad VanGaalen.
Hitting the North American scene like a neutron bomb back in 2004 with Infinihart, VanGaalen went on to be the second Calgary-based act to be signed with Sub-Pop. (For a thousand points, who what the first? Answer: Chixdiggit.) With his unique song stylings that blend esoteric qualities of folk, pop, and stripped down 8-bit electronic, he’s sealed himself a spot in the hearts of critics nation-wide.
Now on the heals of the Polaris music prize nominated Skelliconnection, Chad’s back with Soft Airplane. Meandering back to his folkster roots, the album this time around trends toward a 2:1 ratio for ballads to pop. The result is possible spot on of the best albums of the year.
Opening with the delicately morose track 'Willow Tree,' where VanGaalen sings about death and Viking funerals, and somehow makes it seem like a nice way to spend an autumn afternoon. 'Bare Feet on Wet Griptape' stands out with is atmospheric Sonic Youth fuzz frenzy, with it’s driving guitar and sing along chorus. Oh and the neon hoodie-wearing kids are sure to love the dance-able 'TMNT Mask.'
Soft Airplane is definitely going into my top ten of ’08.
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