Gardens & Villa
Music For Dogs
Gardens & Villa = Phantogram x MGMT
Gardens & Villa’s third album, Music For Dogs, represents harsh change for the modestly successful band from Santa Barbara. They now consist of two members, Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen, and for their third album, the duo recorded with a new found vision bred in an L.A. warehouse. The city’s freakish nature is immediately present on the album's opening cut, “Maximize Results", a future-punk number that's full of energy and emotion as Lynch seemingly hyperventilates over love and technology. Gardens have always reflected the ‘80s in their brand of varied synth-pop, but Music For Dogs reflects a darker period of the decade. It’s a blend of post-punk and new wave that embodies Brian Eno’s art-pop influence…an influence the Californian two-piece has proudly acknowledged. "Jubilee", which sounds directly influenced by Eno, is a Japanese-leaning synth-pop anthem that comments on a commodity-obsessed and chaotic America. “General Research” features Garden’s trademark flutes, as they play background to jagged guitar riffs and glitchy synths, while Lynch confesses, “we’ll find a way to separate the diamonds, breaking the mold.”
That’s what Music For Dogs is: general research, and experimentation, as a respected band transforms and realizes the music they truly want to make in an age of depreciating morals and unbridled technological advances. It’s undoubtedly their most bold effort to date with a strong closing song, and sentiment, in the form of "I Already Do". It feels like the duo is waving goodbye to fans they may lose through this transition, but the song's sweet harmonies and vigorous piano, show that Gardens & Villa are moving forward with confidence.
Originally published in SLUG Magazine