Listening to A Heart of a Pro feels like swimming during a lonesome lake, descending into maelstrom and afterwards turning the face towards the sun shining through densely ramified trees. This second record of GARDA rises above the band’s original folk context and wins favour with completing caressing guitarsounds by majestic woven compositions. GARDA – a band from Dresden consisting of six people – started as a loose collective of musicians which was formed into a proper band during the tour for their debut Die, Technique, Die! which was released in 2008. After this first success they decided that time is up to dissociate from folk-sound without frills and to create an unique sound. It took a while until GARDA found this unused aesthetic which typifies the new record A Heart of a Pro. Kai Lehmann – singer and songwriter and some kind of figurehead of GARDA – tried to find the new direction of the band’s sound by spending some time in a shack high up in Austrian Alps. But as he came back, the group discarded all he wrote but one song even before the next rehearsal session had started. Finally, when the new songs were written, GARDA
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The result is a record full of engaging indie-rock/pop which masters the grade between singer-songwriter and experimental pop with such an self-assurance, that there is no second left for doubting about the authenticity of the band. GARDA got based. There are ballads climbing through an end in harmonious noise. There are guitars as a central element which flows like dancing rivers supplemented by piano, brass and cello. There are unexpected breaks like rapids which reinsert into the whole sound-construct leaded by maritime imagery and themes. But not just instrumental reminds A Heart of a Pro of waves, foggy weather and the wideness of the sea. The symbolic character of water is also a central element of the lyrics which underlines the emotions of getting stuck. So the songs describe the feeling of beeing wearily, of sticking into deadlocked situations and relationships, of becoming some kind of paralyzed. The voice of Kai Lehmann is as eclectic as his songs. In Vessels he sounds as strong and deep as Matt Berninger (THE NATIONAL), while he seems to tremble when he sings about broken dreams in the ballad Gallows. A Heart of a Pro is like autumn in summer. It is the perfect soundtrack for driving by tram through a rainy city full of people who are waiting for the storm to pass. Finally the last track “00:00” releases the listener from bittersweet depressing mood. This is the moment I was talking about at the beginning.
GARDA [one_half last=”no”]
folk / indie / rock / pop from Dresden, Germany