Chad Vangaalen

The Canadian one-man-band returns from the success of Skelliconnection with his 3rd album and one that consolidates all his learnings so far into the best example of his creativity so far. Soft Airplane maintains the DIY aesthetic that Vangaalen has mad his own but manages to inject just enough new-found sophistication to make this record a welcome departure from the previous 2 but familiar enough to keep them relevant.

Using various analogue recording devices Vangaalen lays down a wonderful mixture of dainty folk (Willow Tree), grimy indie-rock (Inside The Molecules) and glitch heavy electronica (TMNT Mask). Using all sorts of instruments from synthesizers, guitars, to any number of home made things that make make noise each song bristles with a creativity and open-mindedness that has always been more than obvious but here seems to sit more comfortably in its skin. The records may swing between genres at an alarming rate but the unifying thread in all his work is the voice. Throughout each tale of death, nightmares and love lost and found Vangaalen's voice quivers with the vulnerability of a flickering flame and yet can rise to a cavernous scale like on the riff heavy Bare Feet On Wet Griptape.

With his mixture of traditional song craft and homemade electronics, Soft Airplane oozes melancholic nostalgia but shines forth with the hope of a contemporary outlook. It's an album so full of ideas it's hard to imagine all this emanated from just one man. It plays out like the work of an artist entirely dedicated to his craft and one who's influences are never denied but instead used as a launching pad for a journey that is all together his own.