Gardens & Villa

Dunes

Secretly Canadian

Feb 06, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


For album number two, California outfit Gardens & Villa sought solace from the recording process in the rugged peaks of Michigan. The results of the quintet's mid-session sojourn are strewn across this 10 track affair, which combines spacious synth-led soundscapes with not-so-subtle hints of '80s pop.

Dunes, it's safe to say, is hardly a giant leap into the unknown for a band that toed a similar line on its debut. But with songs such as the key-jittering ballad "Bullet Train" and the flute-looping whoosh of "Domino," it's a record that finds Gardens & Villa building considerable substance on top of their tried and trusted techniques.

It doesn't always work. The piano-flecked "Chrysanthemums" is slumbering and Beach House-lite, while "Minnesota" is just as biteless. But in the motorik funk of "Echosassy" and the gorgeous airy flutter of "Purple Mesas" there's evidence of an act beginning to strive for greater heights. Michigan has clearly rubbed off on them. (www.gardensandvilla.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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