Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In Which I Sing The Praises Of The Superb New Album From Gardens And Villa

I guess it was about 2 months ago that I heard "Fixations" and suitably raved about it here. The most distressing thing is that the band already had 25K followers on their official Facebook page and somehow I had not heard of them before that moment.

I mean, it's not like I'm not blogging about lots of new music, am I right?

Whatever the reason for the gap in my consciousness, the matter has been put to rights now 'cause I've heard Music for Dogs already -- legally -- and I'm here to rave about that too. The album, out on August 21 via Secretly Canadian is sublime and invigorating and fun and affecting. It is, to put it simply, music that is quite hard to describe and which remains wholly unique in its overall effect each time I play this album.

Of course the previously mentioned "Fixations" is on the LP but its sugar-pop-rush of Sparks-like riffs is here paired with more somber and beautiful pieces like "Alone in the City" which recalls nothing so much as Thomas Dolby when he'd try to do a ballad. "Maximize Results" purrs by like something from the Valley Girl soundtrack while "Everybody" manages to infuse its Depeche Mode-isms with enough of a trace of the second album from The Blue Nile to make this listener supremely content and happy to grin like an idiot.

But for all the deserved attention this group got for "Fixations" its melding of styles almost pales in comparison to the genius of "Paradise" which -- besides having a killer melody -- sounds like Gary Numan singing a Hall and Oates hit. Rather than come off as a gimmicky contrivance, that blending of genres works superbly here and the results are entirely natural and the stuff of the hit parade in some perfect future world.

"Happy Times" and a few other tracks on Music for Dogs nod in the direction of the best stuff from China Crisis and Tears for Fears but the warmth of album closer "I Already Do" approaches the sort of effortless, unmannered pop that those acts couldn't ever manage to pull off successfully. Coming on like some cut from Lindsay Buckingham -- think "Trouble" -- this tune aches with beauty of the sort that few can produce these days.

Music for Dogs by Gardens and Villa is a revelation, especially for those of us who are new to this band. For anyone, it's an album that rewards a careful listen as well as a nearly-permanent place in the car stereo. Put this in, drive around at night, and become enchanted with Gardens and Villa and the music they make.

Follow Gardens and Villa on the Secretly Canadian website or via their their official Facebook page.

Music for Dogs by Gardens and Villa is out on August 21.