One of the more offbeat acts to emerge during my hours and hours of discovering new music is James McArthur & The Head Gardeners.. They are certainly eclectic and ambitious enough to live up to their slightly clumsy moniker. Capable of jumping from graceful folk-rock to engaging guitar mantras to atonal multilayered avant-garde compositions at a moment’s notice. They reflect a strongly divided creative mindset; with McArthur the lyricist and ostensive leader of the group on one side and the rest of the band on the other. At most their music carroms between The Shins, Paul Simon, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and a pastiche of “Laurel Cyn.” psychedelia a’ la Crosby, Stills and Nash(without Young)… Head gardener, James McArthur was born in the Western part of Whales. There he learned the art of horticulture and taught himself how to play the guitar.
Their newly released album, “Intergalactic Sailor” is hip, groovy and extolling a celestial interpretation of a tamed life; even while the world is full of death, dysfunction and social upheaval. The album is much more than just a compilation of one pretty tune after another. With the opening song, “Clearing Up”, McArthur meanders with dark psychedelia and “proto-prog”. His delicate vocals delivers heartfelt lyrics in an unpretentious, charming way; featuring resounding choirboy harmonies, ringing acoustic and sedated electric guitars brought together with finely wrought songwriting.
I sense that The Head Gardeners are trepidatious at times and I think that a “zests” in tempo could do them well. Whilst at the same time its holistic production steers away from over polished folk-rock- collegiate-frat sterility. It’s all rather slight, but it’s really kind of pretty and sweet and nice, and there’s a place for that in rock music. When most bands are just satisfied with pushing the limits, McArthur & The Head Gardeners “blows” them up.. KABANG!!!!