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Gardens & Villa

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Album Review

After recording in S********r's home city of Portland, Oregon, Gardens & Villa released their debut album on Yeasayer's label Secretly Canadian, and coincidentally, Gardens & Villa sound a lot like a cross between those two groups. Similarly, Levi Hayden, Shane McKillop, Adam Rasmussen, and Chris Lynch make warm indie pop with airy falsettos and retro synths. It’s a tranquil listen, even when a picnic song like the chillwavey “Orange Blossom,” with its pseudo-sexy hook “Think of me like a swarm of bees/Circling around your knees/To pollinate means ecstasy,” gives way into the chugging acoustics of “Thorn Castles,” a jam that's brisk enough for a jog on the beach. References to the outdoors are peppered all over the album — from “Black Hills” to "Carrizo Plain"— and this naturalist theme, combined with the digital production, gives the record a nice sense of balance, even if it sometimes lacks originality.

Biography

Formed: 2008 in Santa Barbara, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

In 2008, synth-driven indie pop group Gardens & Villa formed in Santa Barbara, California. With an album's worth of sugary, celebratory tunes under their belt, guitarist Christopher Lynch, keyboardist Adam Rasmussen, bassist Shane McKillop, and drummer Levi Hayden traveled to Oregon to record their self-titled debut. Gardens & Villa was completed over the course of two weeks under the supervision of Secretly Canadian labelmate Richard Swift, and released in the summer of 2011. Around this...
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Contemporaries