Album Review :: Chad Vangaalen :: World’s Most Stressed Out Gardener

by Daniel Kussy

Where some may say that a record is the canvas, where each track makes up the independent yet linear details that tie the painting together, Chad Vangaalen has built an art gallery made up of pieces for each track, and called his collection World’s Most Stressed out Gardener. 

As each track tells their own story chalked with a sound and environment unique from each other, Vangaalen is drawing from every corner of his gallery for inspiration. “Nightwaves” translates pretty seamlessly into an Andy Warhol painting, but instead of “Shot Marilyns” its Vangaalen wearing Ziggy Stardust make up. In the case of “Starlight,” the King Gizzard-like haziness of the vocals mixed with the microtonal guitars, combine with an elaborate pallet of percussion that harkens back to a “This Heat” sound results in a very desert-heavy backdrop. 

“Doesn’t make much sense but it makes way.” Such intricate percussion is used often, as is on the lead single “Samurai Sword.” The clanky tin can percussion rings stressfully as an equally stressed out Chad cry’s for his beloved weapon. “Choir Juno Flute,” one of a handful of instrumental tracks, is a multi-layered ballad that plays like a Hans Zimmer piece, a long drawn-out piece with a big crescendo that’s completely stripped at the song’s end. 

With intention, consistency is the antithesis of World’s Most Stressed Out Gardner. Yet, no matter how far in any certain direction he goes, Chad Vangaalen never lets himself untether from his folk roots. At the base of almost every track is an acoustic guitar that is of no urgency to bleed through or disrupt the krautrock that surrounds it.

For fans of: King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizard, This Heat, Daniel Romano

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