The Churchhill Garden’s Exquisite Dreampop

The Swiss-American duo creates blissed-out, 4AD-inspired dreampop par excellence.
The Churchhill Garden
Andy Jossi and Krissy Vanderwoude

The Churchhill Garden originally began as a solo project by Andy Jossi in 2010, with a series of instrumental songs uploaded to Myspace. After various vocalist collaborations, Jossi connected with Krissy Vanderwoude in 2016 on a song called “The Same Sky” — and the rest, as they say, is history.

If there’s any confusion as to what The Churchhill Garden’s music might sound like, one look at their cover artwork should fix that. The surreal-yet-ethereal imagery and graceful typography immediately bring to mind Vaughan Oliver’s seminal work for the 4AD label. And of course, just a few seconds of any Churchhill Garden song will make it abundantly clear what Jossi and Vanderwoude are tapping into, what with all of the shimmering guitars and angelic vocals.

Gorgeous sonics aside, what also strikes me about the duo’s music is its lightness. It’s all but impossible for music indebted to Cocteau Twins and Lush to not contain some melancholy. However, there’s also a palpable sense of joy and peace in a song like “Always There,” as Vanderwoude sings “The world could use a few more like you/To make it a better place/To be filled with so much kindness/Patience and grace” with immaculate harmonies.

Elsewhere, “Rearview Mirror” might be an ode to the end of a relationship, and while there’s regret and sorrow, there’s no bitterness in lyrics like “I really thought you were the one/But I’m thankful for the memories.” Some might be tempted to critique the duo’s lyrics as too precious or twee, but I don’t mind, not when such earnest sentiments are wrapped up in sounds that are this lovely.

Then again, there are songs like “Lonely,” where Vanderwoude laments “Heartbroken, now that you’ve moved on/Lonely, left here on my own.” But even with those gloomy lyrics, the song still approaches ecstatic thanks to Jossi’s graceful arrangements.

To date, The Churchhill Garden haven’t released an album, just one excellent single after another. And as far as I can tell, all of their singles are “pay what you want” on their Bandcamp page, including this excellent cover of The Cure’s ebullient “Halo,” a B-side for “Friday I’m in Love.”

According to their website, an album is something that Jossi has been wanting make for quite some time. Here’s hoping that happens sooner rather than later. The world could always use some more dreampop, especially when it’s this exquisite and emotional.

Via Frosted Echoes.

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