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After delivering a seemingly effortless debut album and touring incessantly for two years in support of it, beachy Santa Barbara dream-poppers Gardens & Villa hunkered down in a studio in Michigan in the dead of winter for a month.

With OG DFA producer Tim Goldsworthy at the helm of their sophomore release “DunesGardens & Villa have found a sound that builds on their lush melodics and range of possible vibes.

Whether exploring shimmery 80s pixelated video vibes like on “Colony Glen” or simmering with perfect slow shuffling desire on “Purple Mesas” (like Prince at his most downtempo,) Goldsworthy glazes their melodies in cool purple synth sounds and atmospherics that give the album an impossibly cool warmth.

Towards the end of the album this cool warmth dynamic reaches a crescendo with “Minnesota“, where how the piano was recorded captures every pop, creak and crackle to the point that it almost sounds like the piano is on fire.

The addition of other elements into the mix slowly throughout the track add to this sense of smoldering. This is not even including lead vocalist Chris Lynch’s heart-rending delivery of the lyric, which would make Chris Martin cry. It sounds like one of those organic moments on an album where perhaps frustrated and spent from a day of attempting things, someone just sits down and starts doing something that turns into a real unforgettable moment.

Dunes is an awesome album and a beautiful step forward for Gardens & Villa.

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