Jacco Gardner // Hypnophobia
Recommended Track: Brightly
Perhaps the most intriguing and dynamic multi-instrumentalists to hit this decade, Dutch wunderkind Jacco Gardner keeps his music in the realm of profound psychedelic hymns on sophomore album Hypnophobia. Previously of the band Lola Kite as well as The Skywalkers, Gardner has been carving out his own baroque-pop niche since 2011, gathering comparisons to Kurt Vile and The Zombies. Thanks in part to the many miles spent touring around the world in support of debut LP Cabinet of Curiosities, Gardner’s new effort reads as a more mature and polished work.
While Gardner shuns the majority of references most would associate with psychedelia, he does identify heavily with the cinematic/visual quality that is inevitably attached to the genre. True to form, Gardner plays all (vintage) instruments on this album with the exception of drums, and the result is a Grimm’s fairytale for the ears. In his own words, the primary difference between his latest record and Cabinet of Curiosities is simply that, “I know what I want [now].” Cheers to that, Jacco—we’re glad somebody does.
“Find Yourself” is the first single let loose off this record, and what a fine choice that was. Possibly the most ostentatious and commercially-fit track on the record, Gardner points his compass to true-North, where it’s not uncommon for the monster under your bed inviting you to dance. Other notables include “Grey Lanes” and “All Over”, both of which are instrumental tracks and slightly reminiscent of the trip Hotel California took us on courtesy of the Eagles back when they still liked each other. “Brightly” could easily be a salute to the 60’s British singer/songwriter Donovan, and as far as I’m concerned plays as the brightest diamond in the rough on Hypnophobia.
FYI, the term hypnophobia refers to the fear of sleep, which is fitting considering most tracks give the impression you’ve stayed up for 3 days straight while occasionally submerging your head in an overflowing bubble bath of milk and honey. While Hypnophobia in its entirety doesn’t necessarily blow your mind off the bat, the slow-burn Gardner crafts is just as lovely as it is timeless.