One of the great things about opening a Chad VanGaalen record is that you never know what to expect. You might hope for tracks like “Wandering Spirits” or “No Panic/No Heart”---two melancholic acoustic songs that strive to render the lonely comfortable---but his real knack is making “anything goes” feel truly remarkable. So it is with Diaper Island
(a title no doubt in ode to his recent child-rearing duties), a brilliant album, unique and full of gorgeous exploratory moments even in its more soothing palette. Ringing guitar harmonics recalling Thurston Moore’s solo work dominate the opening half on “Do Not Fear” and “Burning Photographs,” before upper-tempo “Freedom For a Policeman” and “Shave My Pussy” steal the show with their playful mixture of pathos and humour.