[Album Review] Chad VanGaalen- Light Information
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Release Date: September 8th, 2017
Label: Flemish Eye / Sub Pop

Chad Vangaalen is known for his grim tales and low-key style. So it may come as somewhat as a surprise to some to hear the bounciness in the opening bars of ‘Light Information’. And there are indeed some moments of pop throughout. But never fear — Vangaalen has in no way “lightened” up.

“Golden Oceans” with its slightly dirty guitar work, features vocals that are distant, giving it a distinct alternative feel. “Mystery Elements” is most definitely hopeful and the highly harmonized vocals are beautiful, even though they’re a little odd. And there’s a slinky undercurrent to the indie enthusiasm of even the afore-mentioned opening number, “Mind Hijacker’s Curse”.

Vangaalen’s edginess is not so easily disguised on other tracks on the album. Despite the jangly guitars, the echoey vocals on “Locked in the phase” lend a creepy air. The song is curiously constructed as well, with the extended “verse” keeping you hanging until finally climaxing into a chorus at the very end. “Broken Bell” has a strange wheezing percussion going on, while Vangaalen sings in a vulnerable broken voice about what advice he should take. He shatters all illusions with the killer line, “But I don’t think it’s right to expect that the universe was born with such a good temper.”

In many ways, ‘Light Information’ produces the best blend of any his albums so far of Vangaalen’s taste for the morbid and his natural pop songwriting talents. Just to prove that he is still the master of delivering gothic horror in a pretty package, witness this line from “Host Body”:  “I’ll be the host body, yes, for the parasitic demons./They can eat me from the inside out, I already hear them chewing.”