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Jacco Gardner

Cabinet of Curiosities

(Trouble in Mind; US: 12 Feb 2013; UK: 12 Feb 2013)

Jacco Gardner delights in a light, baroque chamber pop style of indie music that invokes ‘60s psychedelia with more than a passing nod to the Beatles, Beach Boys, Beck, and Ty Segal (I needed another B band there). Hailing from Zwaag in the Netherlands, Gardner’s writing has an assuredness to it. Something of a multi-instrumentalist, Gardner plays all the instruments on Cabinet of Curiosities, including the wonderful harpsichord, mellotron, flute, and organ, as well as the more mundane guitar and drums. Oh, and he also produced the album.


Opener “Clear The Air” is sunshine psychedelia—drums, chiming guitars, and light, dreamlike vocals and harmonies dressed up in paisley shirts. It’s a lovely song, and the lyrics “Time will tell what happens if the flowers disappear” fairly nail Jacco’s colours to the mast.


Songs such as “The Riddle”, with its Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” intro and reverb-coated vocals, uphold the ‘60s atmosphere, while “Watching The Moon” leans heavily on Sgt. Peppers-era Beatles. While Gardner is no straightforward copyist, there’s not quite enough variety here to lift the album into the young new pretender territory that he is currently attracting.


But wouldn’t it be nice if this is the beginning of something special?

Rating:

Founder of the Birmingham Popular Music Archive and Exec Producer of the documentary Made in Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra (you may discern a common theme here!) I get way more pleasure than is acceptable from uncovering obscure facts and stories about music from my home city. The sight of some long forgotten band performing on stage, captured in a crappy in 1970's photo, is likely to send me over the edge! In my spare time, I work with some fellow popular music and radio fanatics in the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University in the UK.


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Jacco Gardner: Clear The Air
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