Gardens and Villa’s new release, their second, DUNES occupies the same space sonically as Bear in Heaven’s excellent I LOVE YOU IT’S COOL my favorite record of 2012.
The vocals are a bit more faceless than Bear’s which is the only bad thing I can say about this record as it is deeply hooky and crisply produced evenly divided between slow steady rhythmic burners such as Domino and Chrysanthemums and 80’s sturm and drang nostalgia fare sashaying along on mechanical drums such as Colony Glen and Echosassy.
Bullet Train is an example of the Gardens and Villa template at work. A steady chorus gives way to a slight raise of temperature in the vocals and arrangements on the chorus. The addition of a guitar on this song helps as well. A piano and a flute are also featured on other tracks. The bass on Echosassy mimics New Order.
The Bear in Heaven comparison stops at the amount of edginess in I LOVE YOU IT’S COOL that is missing in this record’s pleasant synth-pop retro updates. Still, it flows seamlessly, no bumpy spots, a satisfying listen. Has 2014’s best record come out so early?