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Sunday, February 24, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: JACCO GARDNER - Cabinet of Curiosities

JACCO GARDNER - Cabinet of Curiosities (1-2-3-4-GO!) 

Baroque pop debut from a Dutch multi-instrumentalist and home studio wizard that conjures up spirit and sound of the Zombies, Left Banke, and Sagittarius.

To say that the debut album from Dutch multi-instrumentalist is rooted in the Sixties is an understatement. He has so perfectly captured the sounds and spirit of the era that it could easily be mistaken for the genuine article. Jacco deals in lush Baroque pop and pastoral psychedelia filled with Mellotrons, harpsichords, organs, and other gentle period embellishments throughout. The obvious reference points are Sagittarius, Left Banke, Zombies, and Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, but there are also bits of Big Boy Pete, Love, Van Dyke Parks, and even the Kinks (most notably "Shangri-La"). But he pulls so many references and reshapes them around his own songwriting that you can't quite pinpoint any single example cribbing. Although on "the Riddle" I think that's the keyboard riff from "the Rain, the Park, & Other Things" by the Cowsills verbatim.

The record is elegant and surprisingly natural sounding considering how much attention to detail is put into every note. The fact that this was all done by one man in his early twenties producing and playing everything (except the drums) himself in his home studio in a remote part of the Netherlands makes it an even more remarkable accomplishment. At times Cabinet of Curiosities works more as a look-at-me studio showpiece, but overall it stands on it's own legs thanks to the solid songwriting and the sincerity of the man behind it all. I'm quite excited to hear what he does next.


Above I referenced San Francisco songwriter Big Boy Pete as one of the artists that Jacco reminded me of. I am very secifically thinking of his fabulous single from the late 60's, "I Am Seldom 21". Just because I wanted to hear the song again, below is that Big Boy Pete song.

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