Light Information

Chad VanGaalen won me over almost a decade back with the song “Phantom Anthills,” a blend of a simple folky guitar hook and synths pumping in polyrhythmic harmony. There was also a level of crudeness, partially from VanGaalen’s vocal delivery, that moved somewhere between howling and talking. Now with his sixth solo release, VanGaalen has lost none of that charm. Light Information continues to venture through the woods of mellow guitar-driven rock, where psychedelic light breaks through the trees. Standouts include “Old Heads,” with its poppy snare and tambourine and bright, summery feeling, and “Faces Lit,” with its well-worn rock groove doused with the occasional drop of delay that ripples through the choruses. VanGaalen’s raw, echoing voice sometimes evokes classic Daniel Johnston. There’s an underlying melancholy to these songs, a quality that’s perhaps left over from early-2000s indie rock. That’s not to say VanGaalen’s just a throwback. He’s just doing it right.