Garden City Movement have come fresh out of Tel Aviv with smooth, layered sound that fits somewhere between Snakadaktal, Friendly Fires and Alt-J with their own rich culture added into the mix. Their melodies are hypnotic and their harmonies therapeutically wash over the listener. This is an easy listening EP that you can put on in the lounge room with a glass of wine to take you where it may.
The title track ‘Bengali Cinema’ is smooth and funky, reminiscent of Friendly Fires. This is achieved with subtle, rhythmic, pulsing bass accompanied by light picking of the guitar that engages in a call and answer with the vocals. Vocal harmony completes this tune that achieves everything that a title-track sets out to do. ‘Bengali Cinema’ sets a strong tone for the rest of the EP, it’s groovy and fun to listen to, and is the most up beat song in the album.
My favourite song on this EP is ‘Lir.’ The introductory bars are so calming and emotive that you almost expect to hear the sounds waves crashing in the background; such is the meditative feel of the song. The staccato of the bridge carries the song out of this sleepiness. The subtle pulse that crescendos through to the chorus completes the journey. What I find interesting about this song is that, unlike many that we hear, the vocals are not essential but are a secondary instrument to the piece. They facilitate, rather than dominate, which is not something that you hear often.
‘Love + Loss’ is a nice song but forgettable when the other songs on the EP are so strong. What doesn’t quite sit with this song are the effects on the voices which don’t really fit with the feel of the album. The song is rather disjointed, with the different samples, sounds, instruments and riffs not working coherently. It sounds like several different ideas for songs that have been thrown into one. This song would have worked better had GCM stuck with one sound / melody rather than over complicating it.
‘Terracotta’ compensates for what ‘Love + Loss’ failed to do. They have taken the same varying and multilayered effects and samples, but put them together much more effectively.
Overall GCM use a broad range of layered sounds that engulf the listener to soothe and revive. Being in their early stage they are still working out which effects work best, but they have promise and potential to grow into something quite good. Unfortunately they won’t be touring Australia any time soon, but if you happen to be lucky enough to be going to Glastonbury this year you can catch one of their shows there. I give this EP three and a half out of ten.
Garden City Movement‘s Bengali Cinema EP is out now through BLDG5 Records.