Jacco Gardner, “Hypnophobia”
Jacco Gardner’s 2013 debut, Cabinet of Curiosities, was a complete throwback to ’60s baroque pop, with harpsichord and dreamy melodies put front and center. It was an excellent love letter to that time period that was maybe even too perfect for the then-twenty-four-year-old Dutch artist. Here, he tones down those saccharine and ornate details for his incredibly strong second album. Hypnophobia takes Gardner’s sound into the future—granted it’s definitely still a retro-themed future—and shows off his seemingly endless, ghost-like melodies, and warm, groove-centered production. Gardner finds a comfortable home here, unveiling satisfying pop fragments galore (“Grey Lanes,” “Find Yourself”) before tucking into the pop-art drone of “Before The Dawn” and the melodic dream-pop-meets-giallo soundtracks of the album’s title track. By the time the (appropriately named) bouncy and delicate final instrumental track “All Over” appears, Gardner pulls back the fuzzed-out sonic curtain, leaving listeners feeling euphoric and free. You have been cured.