Although rooted in a post-punk hotbed of throbbing, thrashing bass, Gardens’s debut album blossoms over its 10 songs into an adrenaline rush of artful, angular garage-rock. Not unlike contemporary British bands Young Knives and Pete and the Pirates, the Detroit-based combo creates an original sound out of familiar elements.
Since singer Jeffrey Thomas sounds, to these ears anyway, like Mark E. Smith, as well as a snarling Iggy Pop on occasion, both the Fall and the Stooges come to mind. Foot-pounding opener “Teachers” borrows from the Damned’s “New Rose”, and technicolor flashes of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd rub up against a spiralling Velvets interlude on “Ideas to Use”. Yet as the woozy, junkyard-organ-and-piano numbers “Morning Refresher” and “River Perspective” testify, there’s more going on here than magpie rock ‘n’ roll. “Poems in the Puffs”, for example, is a discord-meditation that deconstructs Gardens’s sound into a wonky art-punk carnival ride.