Shrink Dust

Shrink Dust

Chad VanGaalen loves the possibilities of lo-fi recording. It blurs the audio until it’s hard to comprehend what’s happening, and even something as simple and direct as an acoustic guitar can take on a mystical quality. It can also obscure voices enough to make a less-than-confident singer feel like Frank Sinatra and let a choir of voices sound like they’re singing from the bottom of a deep well. A song like “Lila” divides the believers from the nonbelievers. Those who hear an obscure noise should pass, while those who feel a spiritual pull to something greater should stick around. The sound is reigned in quite a bit for the steel guitar on the countryfied “Weighed Sin,” where the harmonica bleats with desperation as pure as VanGaalen’s tortured high-pitched call. “Monster” echoes the sounds of Daniel Johnston at his most haunted. “All Will Combine” features an idiosyncratic pop sound that’s the reason many fans became fans.

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