Diaper Island (Bonus Track Version)

Diaper Island (Bonus Track Version)

Calgary singer-songwriter Chad Van Gaalen has recorded several impressive solo albums where the ambitious eclecticism made them sound incredibly weird and personal. Diaper Island is another encouraging exploration in sound. Garage rock is apparently on his mind. There’s a great raunch to “Peace On the Rise.” “Heavy Stones” sounds like broken guitars are accompanying Beach Boys-like vocal lines. “Sara” is a touching acoustic number that expands into a punk version of the Association. “Blonde Hash” captures the irreverent mayhem of the Fugs. “Freedom for a Policeman,” “Can You Believe It?” and “Wandering Spirits” are more untutored garage-rock where the vocals throw themselves into gleeful cacophony. There’s such joy here that the deliberate lack of polish makes the album sound even more off-the-cuff than it likely is. The addition of the Neil Young-reminiscent bonus track “You Changed Your Name” is a fitting end to an album with such an anarchic spirit.

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