The ear-splitting noise that enticed listeners on ‘Bloodlines’ is all but forgotten as Brad and Eden pick through shimmering dream-pop and cold-wave electronics with the greatest of ease. The quality is assured within minutes of the gorgeous Slowdive-esque opener ‘Battlegrounds’. Anchored by Eden’s humming, ethereal vocal tones, the song is a glorious statement of intent and while the band go into clubbier directions on the second half, this song is a gateway to their sound.
Possibly the biggest surprise on ‘Mechanical Gardens’ is the sound shift which occurs mid-way through the record, as the bubbling bliss of ‘B’Nai B’Rith Girls’ gives way to the abrasive electro growl of ‘Monsters’. Influenced in part by Eden’s long-time love affair with techno and Brad’s recent obsession with synthesizers, the duo strike a perfect middle ground between crumbling experimentation and pop excess. This is rarely better explored than on ‘Spy Movie’, a track that somehow combines the supposedly warring sounds of Juan Atkins and early My Bloody Valentine.
On ‘Mechanical Gardens’ Brad and Eden have created an album that revels in its grab-bag of influences, but somehow they have managed to emerge with a sound that is totally singular. It’s pop music for sure, but uncynical, atypical and hugely enjoyable.