Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Creative reincarnation: Gardens & Villa reinvent themselves in 12 months

"Music for Dogs"

Release date: 21 August 2015
Gardens and Villa Music For Dogs
17 August 2015, 09:30 Written by Kate Travers
Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen - AKA Gardens and Villa - have, in the last year or so had a complete creative overhaul; they moved to LA, renovated a warehouse, filled it full of artists and took their sound in a completely new direction.

Starting an art collective in an increasingly gentrified neighbourhood of LA might sound like a hipster cliché, but if the goal was to find new ways to express themselves creatively, Gardens and Villa have achieved their goal.

Their last LP (2014's Dunes) sat unashamedly in the electro-pop camp and was produced by none other than Tim Goldsworthy himself. Music For Dogs could not be further from its 80s-inflected energy.

On this LP, Lynch and Rasmussen redefine their synth-pop sensibilities, this time under guidance of Jacob Portrait (better known as the bassist from Unknown Mortal Orchestra).

Moments on Music For Dogs feel distinctly and deliberately uncomfortable. “Maximise Results”, for instance, is a blur of manic piano, oscillating synths, strained vocals and unhinged whistling. It's a critique of a goal-orientated society which demands “results” from both artistic production and emotional life. But is it a great pop song? Arguably, no.

“Fixations”, on the other hand, is precisely that. It wears its late 60s / early 70s psych-pop influences on its sleeve, complemented by its kitschy video (with a surreal twist). “Everybody” sounds like a lost track by The Zombies, but one which speaks to the pressures life in the social media age, with our constant need for novelty and re-invention.

“Happy Times” and “Alone in the City” offer some downbeat introspection, while “Express and “Jubilee” continue the mine that same vein of nostalgic kitsch.

This LP makes no radical statements. It doesn't break the mould - but neither does it completely adhere to it. On balance, Music For Dogs kind of ends up resembling a bag of chocolate misshapes: weird-looking and questionable, but still somehow oddly loveable.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next