Since Chris Lynch and his friends began making music in 2008, these Santa Barbara-based musicians have been experimenting with a very cool combination of electronic music. Part electro-pop, part chillwave, and part psychedelia is what make up Gardens & Villa and it is a combination bound to get anyone up and dancing, or at the very least tapping their foot and bobbing their head in their chair. Dunes is the band’s second full-length album and was released earlier this year in February. The band, currently signed to Secretly Canadian (The War on Drugs, BLK JKS, Porcelain Raft, etc), got help producing the album by Tim Goldsworthy, who has worked in the past with Cut Copy, LCD Soundsystem, and Hercules & Love Affair.
Dunes is an overall good album. Sure, it has some snags here-and-there, but almost every album has that. It’s weird though, because where Dunes really brings home the gold is also a factor in its big flaw. All the tracks sound outstanding (minus one or two due to personal preference) by themselves. Unfortunately, when they are all put together into album format, especially the way they actually were put together, they some-what seem to lose steam half-way though. There are four really killer tracks right in the beginning rather than spaced out through the album and that leads to a rather boring and dull second half. There are a couple great tracks in the latter portion of the album but overall this is a first-half heavy album. Also can we talk about the bizarre closing track “Love Theme” for a minute here? What the? Why is this even in the album? The entire album is either soft rock or electro-pop, maybe a chillwave thrown in, but for the most part pop or rock songs. Then there’s “Love Theme” at the end being the black sheep… Whatever floats your boat G&V.
Overall I would give Dunes a 7.5 out of 10. It is a definite good album that, to me, seems only plagued by losing steam half-way through. Songs like Purple Mesas and Minnesota are extremely mellow and more-or-less make me want to go to sleep. Also the ending track does not at all fit with the rest of the album. It seems as though it was accidentally added into Dunes. Are you one of those weird people who don't start albums at the first song? Then definitely start at Echosassy - best song on the album.