I bought this album over a year ago after hearing the most excellent "Traffic" on the equally excellent US internet broadcast radio "Soma FM/Indie PopRocks", and found that song so unique and powerful it was enough to justify buying the album on the day of release.
My first impression (and it stayed with me for some time) was major disappointment, because I thought the record just didn't live up to the quality of "Traffic". I found the album to be too long with too many songs and that some editing could have been needed. But some of the best albums I own are those which took time & effort to reveal themselves, and all I can suggest to anyone buying this album is to be patient with.
After quite a few spins, songs like the opener "Clinically Dead", "Echo Train" or "Red Blood" show real talent from Chad VanGaalen to write solid hooks without ever being too pop or too indie that just stick to your brain more and more everytime. What is so unique about this album is its ability to take you into its very unique world of songs & sounds, at time soothing and mellow ("After the Afterlife"), intriguing ("Kill me In My Sleep"), or just plain great ("Traffic").
I have to give a lot of credit to the guys at SubPop for picking up this guy and releasing this album, even if Chad actually wrote, performed & produced it all by himself (quite a talented man indeed).
Now a year on after buying the album, I find myself listening to it on a regular basis and enjoy it more and more everytime. Chad's songs have become like good friends, or like wild creatures time has managed to tame.
This is surely not for everyone's taste, not something for the masses or radio-friendly pop, but if you're into solid lo-fi/indie songwriting and like your music to demand a little effort for its true genius to shine through, then this truly is a criminally under-rated rough diamond!
An excellent purchase!