Posted July 2, 2006 by Mike Mineo in Features

ALBUM PREVIEW: Chad VanGaalen – Skelliconnection

This would be the second day in a row for a talented Canadian artist. Well, it’s just that there is some damn good music originating from up there. Chad VanGaalen is one of Sub Pop’s phenoms, and rightfully so. His vocals remind me a bit of a laid back Thom Yorke, but his general solo presence reminds me a bit of a more upbeat Jens Lekman. A friend shows me his debut, Infiniheart, about a year ago. I enjoyed it but I felt that it was too long and lacked variation towards the end. His talent was evident to me though, which was why I anticipated his new album, Skelliconnection highly. It is due out next month and it appears as if he has corrected any minor flaws involved with the first album.

Check out ‘Mini TV’s’ and you’ll hear a nice and raspy harmonica that has some shades of Dylan, with a little vocal effect that reminds me of Neil Young. We’re brought back to the modern world once the chorus kicks in with the synth-like ambient effect underlaying VanGaalen’s effective range. Upon initial listen, this track has struck me the most. Oh yeah, and about that variation complaint earlier… listen to ‘Flower Gardens’. In a bold and daring move, VanGaalen gets pretty loud for himself over a heavily distorted guitar, and unsurprisingly it is executed well. Now, let’s shift to the 80s! The very beginning of ‘Red Hot Drops’ reminds me of Erasure or Ryuichi Sakamoto, and the song flows smoothly and then transforms slightly into a dance-like track slightly after the halfway point for a few moments. Trust me, it’s better than it sounds. The desire for variation has certainly been quenched more than I had ever hoped for. You are going to hear more about this album as the year goes on from people other than me, trust me on that one.


Chad VanGaalen – Mini TV’s



Chad VanGaalen – Flower Gardens



Chad VanGaalen – Red Hot Drops




Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].