Canada - Full Moon 147 - 09/15/08
Sub Pop / Tuba!
Chad VanGaalen is a Canadian animator, illustrator and musician. Soft Airplane is his one-man-bands third album.
The press material speaks of a fragile Neil Young. And that sounds not too far from the truth. On songs like "Molten Light" and "Rabid Bits of Time" you can easily hear the heritage from Young. On the other hand it is just as easy to find that he works on the same ground as many other Canadian indie bands. This might be most legible at the beautiful opening track "Willow Tree". A close to perfect guitar based song that just grows and grows on you with every new listening. It is so very much contemporary indie and still you keep thinking; this could have been a Neil Young ballad from the early seventies.
But Chad VanGaalen is not just a guitar man, as he is playing every instrument on the record, some even handmade. And on the songs "Phantoms Anthills" and "TMNT Mask" he even moves into disco-pop, with a serious smile in the beat.
All in all Soft Airplane can be summoned as glad, but not preaching happy. It has some sad moments, but never breaks into tears. It is utterly playful. An unexpected sound here, a surprising twitch in the lyrics there. It might not be outstanding, but it stands very well as one of this falls better albums.
Copyright © 2008 Aslaug O. Klausen