Shrink Dust – Chad VanGaalen

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If there is such a thing as New Canadiana, Chad VanGaalen is certainly part of it. His album Shrink Dust, which earned him a spot on the Polaris Prize long list, follows a line of records by a new generation of artists that feature a gritty and somewhat disjointed production, mostly acoustic instrumentation, wistful and at times meditative vocals, and a lyrics bricolage. This new wave of Canadian artistic output has effectively birthed a discernible style spearheading the remoulding of “vintage” music genres into sonics fitting for today’s cultural landscape. Listening to Shrink Dust, one cannot help but feel that VanGaalen sounds the way Neil Young of the late 1960s-early 1970s would if he were to have made that music today. Throughout the record, VanGaalen effortlessly inhabits the Youngian archetypes of hippie psychedelia, proto-grunge, and acoustic folk, b(l)ending them into a mélange that is distinctly his own. Measured by the metric of New Canadiana, this is nothing but an accomplishment of a very high order.

Rating: ★★★★½
-Dalibor Mišina