Every so often, an EP comes along that doesn’t so much smack you in the face with its genius, but rather smothers you into submission with its charm. So Much For Gardening from Dutch duo Feng Suave is definitely the latter. It’s so masterful in its subtlety that you don’t quite realise how good each of the four songs is until they’ve already seeped into every fibre of your being. And seep into you they will, coating you like a warm, sticky musical nectar.
Consisting of long-time friends Daniël Schoemaker and Daniël de Jong, Feng Suave rightly garnered attention for 2017’s eponymous debut and 2020's nostalgic Warping Youth. And while the tempo is laid-back on this third EP from the pair, it feels as if things have otherwise stepped up a gear.
On the latest single to be released from the EP, “Show Me”, Feng Suave rise to new musical challenges, describing it as “the first song we wrote with multiple key changes…As a songwriter it’s hard to not get caught up in writing something that feels special based purely on the difficulty level of the actual chords and melody.” They do go on to admit that this “isn’t important for the listener and it probably shouldn’t be for the writer as well,” but it’s hard not to be impressed by just how smooth each of the layers built into this track merge together; the sonic equivalent of floating along a lazy river, with the sun beating down on your back, gently passing obstacles as you wind a smooth course downhill.
Elsewhere, there’s a “happy-go-lucky lo-fi pop” vibe “Tomb For Rockets” and more than a hint of soulful Motown on the wonderfully titled “Unweaving the Rainbow Forever”. It’s also no understatement to say that the final track “Come Gather ‘Round” would sound quite at home on Rubber Soul, so natural are the 60’s groove and the gorgeous backing choruses.
Whilst the atmosphere feels easy-going from start to finish, Feng Suave do cover some important material (with an ascerbic take on capitalism on “Come Gather ‘Round”, for example). But to be honest, this whole EP sounds so good that even if the topics they covered were dry, you’d still get wet from listening.
So Much For Gardening is an absolute triumph of an EP, that offers a little something for everyone, including that sweetness we all need so badly right now. So, close your eyes, soak up the soul and let Feng Suave pull your senses away to a place where the sun is always shining.