Diving into this lake is an exhilarating experience. There are deep waters and strange currents that pull the listener under the surface, almost drowning but certainly enveloped in an almost dream like aquamarine state of mind (if such a thing exists). This is baroque pop with horns, woodwind and strings decorating a very strong set of songs that are melodic in the extreme as Garcia’s handsome vocals dominate proceedings.
Garcia is a 27 year old musician and filmmaker who moved from Austin to Portland a few years ago. Immersing himself in the artistic scene there he has been making this album with a cast of dozens over the past year and a half. Although there are whiffs of the Buckley’s in Garcia’s vocals and the organic feel of much of the instrumentation is similar to much of the “psych folk” movement there is little to compare this album with without going back to the heyday of Van Dykes Park’s work with the Beach Boys and Harry Nilsson. Ornate, stately, almost orchestral at times there are moments of beauty. The shimmering strings, harp and violins on “Leaving Me For a Bald Fat Man” are heart stopping. At the heart of the music however is a punchy rhythm section with some great bass playing (on Song for the Siren (not the Buckley song) for example). At time the propulsion is akin to that of New Order with a side order of Kraut Rock and the closing song “Tram” echoes Wire circa Pink Flag.
In addition to the gothic shade afforded by the instrumentation Garcia as a wordsmith avoids sentimentality The best example of this is the contradiction at the heart of the aforementioned “Leaving Me For a Bald Fat Man. “ It does tug at the heartstrings but the lyrics are barbed. Losing his love to, yes indeed, a fat man, the singer closes this wonderful “love” song with the words “don’t forget me, bitch.”