In terms of sheer scope, few albums to emerge from Los Angeles artists this year can match Bell Gardens’ sophomore effort “Slow Dawns for Lost Conclusions.” Kan Wakan comes to mind, or Warpaint. Or Ariel Pink in his quirky way. On their 45-minute long-player, Bell Gardens stitches together a warm blanket of keys, guitars, pedal steel, strings, horns, genteel percussion and harmonies, achieving a pastoral splendor that is as defiant of genre boundaries as it is immediate-gratification impulses. The sextet, helmed by singer-guitarists Kenneth James Gibson and Brian McBride and including bassist Chris Camacho, multi-instumentalist Julian Goldwhite, keyboardist Dain Luscombe and drummer Charlie Woodburn, incorporated strings by Lauren Chipman (the Rentals) and horns by Stewart Cole (Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros) into the new orchestrations, which are meticulous down to the last sleigh bell and shaker. By all means, you should take the “slow” in the “Slow Dawns” literally, yet as with most great ambient music, patience is rewarded. The temptation is to call “Slow Dawns for Lost Conclusions” (just out via Rocket Girl) cinematic; if it parallels any visual art, though, it’s time-lapse photography. Just wear headphones and “watch” it unfold.
||| Stream: “She’s Stuck in the Endless Loop of Her Decline” and “Darker Side of Sunshine”
||| Live: Bell Gardens celebrate their album release on Nov. 19 with a show at the Virgil along with Modern Time Machines and Old Toy Trains.
Photo by Kelly Johnston-Gibson