Chad VanGaalen: Skelliconnection


On Skelliconnection, Chad VanGaalen offers up a wealth of musical influences, somehow crafted into a listenable, if not exactly earth-shattering, album.  One hears, in his sound, hints of Joseph Arthur, Cloud Cult, and any number of Sub Pop artists.  It is perhaps no surprise, then, that he is being touted as a combination of Iron & Wine, The Postal Service, and The Shins.

Though the comparison isn’t terribly far off the mark, it somehow fails to acknowledge that he does little to improve upon what those (arguably) seminal acts have already done.  This is not to say the album isn’t good; indeed, it is surprisingly catchy, with a folk/pop sensibility that makes it imminently listenable, and indeed leaves one occasionally humming tunes.  However, it also adds little that one hasn’t heard before, and arguably better, by all the above-mentioned acts.  For quirkiness with passion, it’s hard to argue with Cloud Cult, arguably one of the most interesting acts on today’s scene.  For quality singer/songwriter one-man-show acts, Joseph Arthur’s in a class by himself.  And for quality Sub Pop sound, I&W, TPS, and The Shins all shine in their roles.  Skelliconnection, unfortunately, will likely be heard by few and will be quickly filed away – which is a shame, as VanGaalen clearly has both talent and ideas.  Let us hope for bigger, more adventurous things on his next album.


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