In these depressing & stressing times, musicians are certainly trying to get people to relax & have some fun. Witness the revival of not just disco but tropicalia, and even their merger in artists like Santa Barbara’s Gardens & Villa. But on their second record, Dunes, the band does more.
Instead of up-dance, Gardens & Villa are cool, calm, and collected, a smooth evening on songs like “Domino”, “Bullet Train” (QRO review), “Purple Mesas”, and “Avalanche”. Sometimes they can be too cool for their own good (“Purple Mesas”), but they manage to also bring in the darker side of the discotheque in the pressing “Colony Glen” and restrained “Thunder Glove”. And their mix of tropicalia and disco is well done, like the flute sounds that could come from a keyboard on “Domino” (though the band has woodwinds – QRO photos).
Gardens & Villa are too well rounded to just get happy, or just get dark. They keep themselves at a distance on Dunes, but it’s a studied distance.