Jacco Gardner - Hypnophobia (Full Time Hobby)

Prog infused psychedelia from cult Dutch multi-instrumentalist

Released May 4th, 2015 via Full Time Hobby / By Norman Miller
Jacco Gardner - Hypnophobia (Full Time Hobby) Though the title technically refers to a fear of sleep, the latest from Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner – following 2013s acclaimed Cabinet Of Curiosities - is a dreamy affair drawing on a love of psychedelia, fairytales and vintage instruments to often sweetly mesmerising effect.

For equipment geeks, Gardner sets Wurlitzer electric piano and an Optigan waltzing along with mellotrons, harpsichords and an antique Steinway upright piano – though the percussive talents of Jos van Tol and Nic Niggebrugge tone down the fey quotient on various tracks.

Musical references on the 10 tracks touch various psych/dreamy musical bases. Among Gardner's Euro compatriots, step forward Gallic dream poppers Melody's Echo Chamber and Death & Vanilla's Swedish aural kaleidoscope, but there's historic DNA too, back to early Floyd, trippy 60s folk and the lighter end of 70s prog.

The title track's ethereal jangly guitar hints at School of Seven Bells, while lovely vocals nod to early Genesis before things head off into Syd Barrett trippiness. There's a psych-rock Floyd feel on 'Find Yourself' too, laced with lolloping base and a drawling vocal.

The melodic 'Grey Lanes' nods to early 70s folky prog (Gryphon anyone?), while the acoustic 'Brightly' sounds like a more declamatory Donovan. 'Make Me See' exudes smart musical control – a stripped back number whose slightly dissonant vocal hangs over a gorgeous stumbling keyboard line. 'All Over' is a clever slow-tempo finale, laying out two contrasting keyboards lines – one warmly electronic, the other cool harpsichord.

A couple of tracks don't quite cut the mustard. 'Outside Forever' is too saccharine, while the synthpop styling of 'Before The Dawn' just isn't hooky enough. By and large, though, this is a beautiful 40-minute slice of dreamy moodiness which Gardner sums up neatly as “like a slightly scary lucid dream”.