Dutch wunderkid’s first album offers much promise.
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?