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Gardens & Villa’s Self-titled Lp [9.0]

Posted on the 29 July 2011 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

album art gardens villa gardens villa GARDENS & VILLAS SELF TITLED LP [9.0]

Black Hills – Gardens & Villa

Orange Blossom - Gardens & Villa

When I saw Gardens & Villa (@gardensandvilla) open up for Foster the People this summer, the crowd was completely oblivious as to who they were. After they played a high-energy set that packed a punch, though, it’s safe to say that everyone was eager to find out. With an undeniable stage presence and a lead singer that doubles as a woodwind expert, a bag of the instruments slung around his back, there’s something very unique about what this group brings to the stage and to their genre as a whole. It’s no wonder that their debut album, the self-titled Gardens & Villa, is so fast to please and easy to repeat.

Upon first listen, I deemed this release my favorite in 2011 thus far. It’s simply that easy to fall in love with. With each dreamy, funky, pulsing song, it’s difficult to imagine where anyone could fail to notice how badly indie rock needs Gardens & Villa. “Orange Blossom”, probably the most unique song on the album, was one that struck me in particular. Between its almost disconnected sound and falsetto vocals, this track could perhaps be compared to the Taking Heads. Any influences, though, are minimal and easily forgettable with the song’s enchanting, spaced-out pace and beautiful, natural trills supplied by the flute.

“Black Hills”, the first song featured on the record, reveals a pop-drenched hit with a dark edge. With its bouncing beat and maracas, the song draws with its chimes and charm. Strangled and beautifully stretched out by Lynch, the lyric “sunlight through the blinds,” is the perfect summary of the album as a whole — dark with hints of pop and lightness. Songs such as “Carrizo Plain” and “Sunday Morning” change the pace a bit, as they incorporate slower, more chill-wave jams. Though the whistling, western-vibed intro from “Carrizo Plain” and the wind instrument sound of “Sunday Morning” may not keep the strong tempo of the more pumped-up songs, they still shine as relaxing gems.

The tune that truly solidifies the talent of this band is “Star Fire Power”, a song I was very excited to hear well-translated from the live setting to the record. With heavy, head-bobbing drums and an immaculately clean guitar riff, the track sounds like the work of a much more seasoned band. Lyrics like “In time you will find everything that shines must die,” show off the overall darkness of this record, an element that’s difficult to notice given the distraction of happier instrumentals and high-pitched vocals.

Though they hail from Santa Barbara, Gardens & Villa add a mixture of gloom and ice to accompany the sunshine their new album brings, and the result is truly fantastic. Bright bells, woodwind instruments, synths, and falsetto vocals balance out the harder guitar, sadder lyrics, and slow croons — certainly an achievement in songwriting and definitely worthy of a permanent spot in your music library.


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