Since making his debut in 2004, Calgary native Chad VanGaalen has been a perennial staple of of the Sub Pop roster, offering up strange and deeply imaginative missives that crisscross the canvases of folk, psych, and lo-fi indie rock. Also an illustrator with a myriad of visual projects to his credit, VanGaalen's 2014 release, Shrink Dust, partially served as a soundtrack to his animated spaghetti Western/sci-fi film Tarboz. Three years later, the Canadian renaissance man returns with his sixth album, Light Information, which he of course recorded, designed, and performed entirely on his own. As typically colorful as anything he's done, Light Information is -- once it gets rolling -- a generally more rousing affair than its predecessor. Full of contorted electric guitars, caterwauling reverb, and spry drumming, his acoustic guitar is nearly absent here as he eschews some of his folkier elements in favor of jagged chugging riffs and bent synth tones on standouts like the murky rocker "Host Body" and the spirited psych-pop of "Old Heads." His tremulous, warbling tenor cuts through the busier and more raucous mixes, taking full command on slightly sparser tracks like "Pine and Clover" and "You Fool." More than anything, Light Information feels like a pop record, albeit one that is tonally warped and distorted to represent VanGaalen's distinctive worldview. The excellent "Mystery Elementals" captures some of the same melodious excitement of the first Shins album and, even though its unbearably harsh fidelity renders it almost unlistenable, there's no denying the tuneful hooks of a song like "Golden Oceans." As he's proven again and again, VanGaalen is not for everyone, but he captains his own imagination with absolute confidence and vigor.