A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Golden Gardens is a waterfront park in Seattle, where you can escape the grind of a major metropolis, hike through wetlands, and watch the sun set over the Olympic Mountains, across the Puget Sound.
Golden Gardens is also a dream-pop duo from Seattle, made up of Gregg Alexander Joseph Neville and Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble. Like their namesake, Golden Gardens is a breath of tranquility in a harried urban existence.
Golden Gardens are otherworldly. They “come to you across the forest with messages of alchemy and wisdom. Told in song, such high and mystic things…..”. High words, but there is a bewitching, transportive quality to their music. Beneath waves of reverb and icy synthesizers, there is a depth, that keeps you coming back, that keeps you searching, keeps you guessing.
It would be easy to merely list off a list of band that Golden Gardens sound like, succumb to the old marketing ploy. “You already like these things, this is a no brainer”. Yes, Golden Gardens DO combine the best parts of the Cocteau Twins, ethereal harmonies and closeknit chemistry; the faded grandeur and possible decadence of Disintegration-era The Cure; the dreamy fusion of Human and electronics of Love Spirals Downwards Flux. The key phrase in the preceding sentence is the best of. The pair have created a beguiling chimera of goth, synthpop and airy dancefloor trance that not only stands to be wildly successful, but also stands to give each genus a shot in the arm and some fresh blood.
What makes Bellflower work is good old-fashioned songwriting, like the wave the chiming guitar announces the siren-like chorus on “The Ghost Of A Total Stranger” or the way “I’ll Burn Alone” dissolves into a skeleton of synth bass and strings. You won’t find a lot of hooky earworms here, instead it’s more of a slowburn evolution, as is typical of Shoegaze. Bellflower is a bewitching wall-of-sound, mesmerizing and hypnotic, that you can listen to repetitively. Some of the beats sound overtly digital, and could stand for some additional mastering, which is the only thing that might possibly break the spell.
Golden Gardens are ramping up, regularly producing music, playing shows, and gaining new fans all the time. Their process has become much more fluid and organic since Gregg Neville moved to Seattle from Florida. The pair still record tracks independently, as they are introverted sorts, but the ability to mix in the same room has made this a real band, and one to watch out for. They’ve been getting love and support from Portland DJ’s DJ Wednesday and DJ Curatrix at the Brickbat Mansion night at The Lovecraft, and the limited physical editions of the last 2 EPs have sold out nearly immediately. Luckily, as of today, Bellflower is available as an official digital download. Now i won’t have to be slavishly chained to my laptop, and can have a social life again.
Goth was my first love, when i was hypnotized by Dead Can Dance‘s exoticism and The Cranes‘ witchcraft, so it is refreshing to see the genre getting some recognition. I’m talking the pretty 4AD/Projekt Records variety, not the cheezy Gothic Rock that tended to fill the nightclubs. Darkwave/shoegaze/dream-pop are all basically dark psychedelia for romantic souls. More introverted and comforting than Techno, less sunshiny than Reggae or Jambands, this is music for the in-between spaces, the in-between people, which is, of course, what we’re after, at Forestpunk.
Let Golden Gardens tear the veil asunder.