Chad VanGaalen
Infiniheart


4.0
excellent

Review

by SubtleDagger USER (35 Reviews)
October 28th, 2006 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Homegrown indie artist builds something beautiful from nothing much.

Chad VanGaalen is one of those artists who gives me a great amount of hope for my own musical aspirations due to his own accomplishments; constructing his own instruments and techniques while recording everything from the ground up himself, VanGaalen's Infiniheart was actually getting around on homemade compact discs after he recorded the entire version rereleased here (along with even more tracks which have subsequently been cut) in his own room years ago. Undoubtebly, Sub Pop caught wind of VanGaalen's gorgeous and infectual music one way or another and signed him, rearranging the album for a much wider release. It is promising to any musician toiling away in their rooms with a guitar and mic and burning CDs of their own music to hear and witness what VanGaalen essentially did himself, without the aid of a contract or studio. And that's no understatement, everything on Infiniheart really does come down to VanGaalen; all of the tracks found here haven't even been touched up, only slightly rearranged. Even the artwork is his (VanGaalen has a successful history in animation and illustration).

Given that information, it is especially astonishing what VanGaalen has crafted while sitting in his room. The sounds here are amazing, smattered with rhythmic acoustic guitar, coalescing effect-ridden electric guitar noodlings, solid percussion work that sometimes utilizes drum machines and is perhaps better off for it, and last but not least, beautiful harmonized vocals that feel as insightful as they do sincere. VanGaalen crafts whole soundscapes out of the simplest of techniques, whether it be reversing a drum line or melody, or giving a guitar a booming unnatural tone. His strength lies not only in basic songwriting but in amazing arrangements seemingly built off of taking simple ides and screwing with them endlessly. There are so many interesting things going on that listeners will notice countless new ideas upon repeated listenings.

"Clinically Dead" and "Echo Train" were the singles and it's easy to see why: both feature stripped-down verses which give way to anthemic, booming guitar choruses featuring VanGaalen's almost meek voice riding atop them. These songs are definitely great but by no means represent VanGaalen's greatest strengths; his flair for catchy melodies is not near as important as his ability to use said melodies in a decidedly quirky and beautiful fashion. "Kill Me in My Sleep" and "After the Afterlife" both show his love for experimentation, featuring ambient guitar-laden endings that compliment their main passages very effectively. "Blood Machine" features tribal percussion and ominous, apocalyptic lyrics that create an amazing mood. "Build a Home Like a Bee" is easily the most gorgeous piece here (perhaps rivalled only by "Somewhere I Know There Is Nothing"); at just over two minutes you're left wishing it were more like five.

The last half is promising but it is difficult to live up to such a high standard set by the first half. "I Miss You Like I Miss You" and "Sunshine Snare Hits" are beautiful little slices of folkiness, "Red Blood" almost lives up to the dark vibe of "Blood Machine" with it's dirgy falsettos, and "Liquid + Light" and "Warp Zone" both reflect the quirkiness of the first few songs admirably. But tracks like "1000 Pound Eyelids" and "Traffic" do slow things down a bit too much, almost dragging along and not giving us much to listen to that's interesting. The album still feels cohesive and these songs are by no means bad, just a letdown in comparison to the other work here.

All in all, Infiniheart ends up being a steady piece of expiremental indie pop and in my opinion sets VanGaalen in a league of his own. This music is incredibly original and definitely stands out, giving VanGaalen something he can work off of and strive for. It's questionable what being on a major label will do for him since Infiniheart is a solid album built from the ground up; hopefully success won't spoil the potential shown here, and
label support will allow him to accomplish even greater things.



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
pixiesfanyo
October 28th 2006


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Once again sputnik is proved to have shitty taste as there are no comments on this review.

Zmev
October 28th 2006


983 Comments


I have a song by this guy. Its pretty good, I'll look into this.

StaticSynth
October 28th 2006


16 Comments


Nice review. I've been meaning to give this guy a listen.

SubtleDagger
October 28th 2006


737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[QUOTE=pixiesfanyo]Once again sputnik is proved to have ****ty taste as there are no comments on this review.[/QUOTE]
I'm used to that by now
I'm sure when I review Deftones there will be hundreds of comments 9_9

mx
Moderator
October 31st 2006


733 Comments


I have a song of the latest album, I'll give this a try.

Hatshepsut
October 31st 2006


1997 Comments


Sounds interesting. I'm starting to get into Indie Pop more now so this might be pretty good.

Ephemeral
October 31st 2006


144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This guy is from my city. He owns. Nice review Burt.

slack
November 3rd 2006


249 Comments


Been meaning to get this. Clinically Dead's awesome.

Sweet review. :thumb:

livinginafantasy
November 3rd 2006


35 Comments


sounds fantastic.
well done with the review. summed it up well.
must investigate.

Ephemeral
November 10th 2006


144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm probably seeing him on thursday

:D

Otherside
November 26th 2006


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review Burt. You gave me this cd over AIM a long time ago, took forever to listen to it but when I did, I never stopped playing it

RottedFlesh
November 26th 2006


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ya this CD is great. I like 1000 Pound Eyelids and Clinically Dead.

FA
December 1st 2006


127 Comments


I remember ages agon when you gave me this album....doesn't mean I like you though...good review.

gamwtinmanatus
January 21st 2011


29 Comments


this guy is awesome



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