Chad VanGaalen – Diaper Island

Album Review by Chris Buckle | 24 May 2011
  • Chad VanGaalen - Diaper Island
Album title: Diaper Island
Artist: Chad VanGaalen
Label: Sub Pop
Release date: 13 Jun

Released last year, Women’s second album garnered almost as many plaudits for producer Chad VanGaalen – who cultivated an unsettling atmosphere pregnant with reverb and distortion – as it did for the band itself. Diaper Island marks VanGaalen’s first solo material since 2008, and the results are stylistically congruous with Public Strain, though less uncompromising.

That’s not to paint this the less interesting work; rather, VanGaalen confidently applies Public Strain’s techniques in a less challenging, but ultimately more gratifying, context. The yearning romanticism of preview track Sara isn’t a red herring as such – Heavy Stones’ strung-out country jam complements it nicely – but elsewhere, VanGaalen casually subverts expectations with deliberate ugliness, whether undercutting Can You Believe It? with noisy discordance, or closing with the confrontationally-titled Shave My Pussy, which contains not crudity but a piteous sadness. The end result is beguiling, and destined to grow in stature with every listen. [Chris Buckle]

Playing Glasgow's Captain's Rest on 18 Aug and Edinburgh's Sneaky Pete's on 19 Aug