Jacco Gardner is a little elf and he makes little elf music, his intricately arranged baroque pop songs the musical equivalent of stuffing your face full of marshmallows while riding a paisley painted pony on the merry-go-round at a carnival in 1966.
Sunny new single “Find Yourself” from upcoming sophomore LP Hypnophobia, out May 5th on Polyvinyl, is vintage Gardner; instantly recognizable the moment the harpsichord drops on the song’s sun-kissed soundscape, recalling as ever the classical nuggets of orchestrally-inclined mid-sixties pop groups like [insert name here] and [insert other name here]. Used to great and distinctive effect on first LP Cabinet of Curiosity, the classical keys are balanced by a bouncing Sgt. Pepper-esque bass line, which adds the heaviness needed to counter the whimsy that’s always been the downfall of this particularly playful branch of psych music.
While dependably embellished and frilly in the Dutch multi-instrumentalist’s hallmark style, “Find Yourself” is an elegant showcase for Gardner’s talents. It’s all here and on display, from Gardner’s ability to arrange his lush melodies in compulsively listenable ways to his sometimes irritating reliance on lyrical imagery involving the sun, sunshine, and summer (although he’s hardly alone in that regard.) In any case, “Find Yourself” is a fine lead single from what’s sure to be one of year’s prettiest records.
In addition to appearing on Hypnophobia,“Find Yourself” will be released as a 7-inch single with b-side “Mixed Feelings” on April 15th.