Hailing from North Carolina, Garlic City is a four-piece consisting of Elliot Simpson (vocals/guitar), Brodie Cole (vocals/guitar), Bayley Courtland (bass) and Mark Eckert (percussion). Their recent release MInimalist is one that fans of indie rock will not want to miss. I heard aspects of Grizzly Bear, The Local Natives, The Dirty Projectors and even Vampire Weekend to some degree while listening to Minimalist.
The band explains that Minimalist addresses and questions interesting philosophical, social, and psychological concepts. This may be true but the reason the album works is because of the vocal harmonies, inventive guitar parts, the use of reverb and the overall ability to deliver catchy, aesthetically pleasing sounds directly into your ears.
They open up with a great song entitled “Minimalist.” The vocal delivery is top notch as he repeats the same lyric the entire time. He sings, “He's a minimal man / And that's something that / You'll never understand.” As the song progresses it gets more inventive and intense. They layer horns and reverb laced guitar into a satisfying climax. Great opener. “6807” is loose, fun and definitely brings Vampire Weekend to mind but also has vocal harmonies that reminded me of Animal Collective.
As the album progresses the band continues to produce formidable material that is competitive with some of the best the indie rock world has to offer. “Adding Sand to the Hourglass,” “Pretending” and “Candy Bar” showcase the band’s willingness to experiment with sound and textures. They implement unique sounds sometimes replacing the standard reverb guitar.
The centerpiece of the album was the seven-plus minute “Wild Ones.” It starts off minimal with guitar and vocals but as it progresses more layers are added to the mix. The vocal harmonies are exceptional on this track and towards the end builds towards a satisfying climax.
This album has a couple of missteps but not much. There are a lot of great ideas on Minimalist and the band delivers on them. I predict good things to come from this young band.
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