Gardens & Villa, Music For Dogs - Album review

Download: Maximise Results; Fixation; Paradise

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The Independent Culture

Music For Dogs is the third and best album yet from Santa Barbara’s Gardens & Villa, with the band casting a desultory, somewhat jaundiced eye over modern technological tropes, in an engaging style of West Coast pleasantry – the piquant melody and arrangement of “Paradise”, for instance, shift in unusual directions with the quixotic appeal of a Brian Wilson production, while the enigmatic melody of “Fixations” recalls The Shins.

The hammered piano is something of a fixture throughout, right from the weird, hysterical momentum of “Maximise Results”, with its itchy drum-machine, elastic bass pulse and startling vocal key-shifts, through to the laboriously methodical “I Already Do”.

It’s a slightly overdone element, but there’s much to enjoy here in the group’s disenchantment with the dubious benefits of email, blogs, search engines and telecoms.