Gardens & Villa


In Dunes, S.B.’s resident indie-rock heroes Gardens & Villa have delivered an impressive second effort. A new synth-heavy sound means that Dunes is probably destined to be labeled as significantly more “new wave” (“newer wave?”). But, calling something “new wave” doesn’t make it so (and not just because no one knows what the designation even means nowadays).

Dunes is jump-started by “Domino,” a grand (albeit slightly abrupt) reveal of Gardens & Villa’s new, synthesizer-loaded sound. The brooding feeling of the band’s 2011 self-titled debut has grown into something more contemplative, the hazy darkness dimmed and dispersed by a natural and perhaps more accessible light. This is most obvious in frontman Chris Lynch, who exhibits a new vocal confidence on tracks like “Chrysanthemums” and “Avalanche.”

This newfound approachability doesn’t mean Gardens & Villa is out of surprises, though. There’s a vivacious flute solo, a possible train whistle, and the greater realization that you won’t be able to pronounce “chrysanthemums” the normal way ever again.

So, is Dunes new wave? It really doesn’t matter. The album is full of great songs, nearly all of which feel like they’re built to be performed live. And perhaps, most importantly, Dunes still sounds like Gardens & Villa — just in a different stage of life.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

California Hits an Emissions Landmark Four Years Early

Achieved greenhouse-gas pollution reduction to 1990 levels in 2016.

192 Bridge Work Update

Delays expected as utility lines are replaced.

Goleta Target Store Confirmed

Set to open at Kmart location in 2019.

County Fire Chief Calls for More Fuel Breaks

Peterson wants to create a continuous front-country line from Montecito to Goleta.

Crime Rates Down, Youth Arrests Up in Santa Barbara County

A 'high percentage' of misdemeanor citations happen on school campuses.