Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Jacco Gardner - Cabinet Of Curiosities

Get on your (white) bicycle and ride! Introspective psychedelia at its finest!

Anyone who's ever searched for original psychedelic-era vinyl on Ebay will know that to acquire such artefacts you need a bank loan or a lottery win. There's a good reason for this - a lot of the records were bloody great, and continue to fascinate and garner new generations of fans to this day. A lot cheaper, yet no less psychedelic or impressive, is this debut album from Dutch psych-wonderkid Jacco Gardner.

Gardner's previous two singles, 'Clear The Air' and 'Where Will You Go' (both included here) raised eyebrows and expectations last year, and this hotly anticipated long-player does not disappoint. Gardner plays all the instruments on the album, except drums which are expertly played by Jos van Tol. With baroque arrangements of harpsichord, flutes, analogue keyboards and strings, the effect is authentically reverential to the music of the late '60s, yet somehow feels right for now, like a great lost record who's time has finally come.

Click over the jump for more on Cabinet Of Curiosities.

On first listen the album seems to suffer from the songs being all too similar in pace. A few listens in though and the subtleties of each track begin to emerge, with the scale of Gardner's arranging skills and attention to detail becoming ever more apparent. Just listen to the harpsichord in the instrumental section of 'Clear The Air'. Or the bass guitar counter melody on 'Puppets Dangling'. The hazy, shuffling rhythm on 'Where Will You Go'. Each track works it's own magic and the cumulative effect is dazzling.

As well as the impressive instrumentation there's a sense of wonder in the songs, along with an autumnal sadness that's spread across the whole album. Childhood innocence merges with a more spooky, lysergic sensibility, echoing the work of Lewis Carroll and Syd Barrett.

There's talk afoot of an impending psychedelic revival with Tame Impala, Temples and Toy all getting their share of column inches. Even the glossy monthlies are getting in on the act. Jacco Gardner more than deserves his place among these names. Were it not for the psych-by-numbers aspect of the album's title this LP would have merited the full ten out of ten. On the strength of its music alone however it's without doubt one of the albums of the year.

Click here for Jacco Gardner's website.
Click here for the Trouble In Mind website.