It is true that many a wonderful person flees Alberta, but those that remain hide an indie-pop heart beneath the questionable socio-political tendencies. Stealing away from the rest of the world to record music in his bedroom, VanGaalen has put together a 16-track sampling of this internal Albertan world on Infiniheart. The piecemeal manner of the album’s creation means that the whole is no stronger than the sum of its parts, which fortunately stand well on their own.
The album starts out with the anomalously driving track “Clinically Dead”, which finds VanGaalan tapping out the time on the bass drum, highly reminiscient of the Arcade Fire. Aside from a few musical wanderings, the album is vaguely reminiscent of fellow Calgarians The Dudes, had they remained in seclusion for years. VanGaalen’s voice trembles much like Wayne Coyne at his most reflective, but he lacks the Lip’s lyrical depth. The arrangements are lovely and intimate, reminding me how there really is nowhere else to be on impressively cold day in Alberta than in your bed. The guitar, mostly acoustic, is enmeshed with hand claps, flute, violin, saxophone, bed squeaks, piano, glockenspiel, drums, wind chimes and whatever else VanGaalen has hiding in his room. Collectively this album is promising and I look forward to more focused efforts in future bedroom recordings.