The 100 Club is a venue with a long musical history, and although Jacco Gardner is a relative newcomer, his own music is covering ground at a rapid pace.
Born in Hoogeveen in the Netherlands in the late 80s, he joined many bands, moving in an ever more 60s direction, until he formed The Skywalkers with a partner from one those early bands. Following this, he chose to concentrate on solo work, in which he blends melody with retro styles. His debut album, influenced by the likes of Syd Barrett and The Left Banke, received critical acclaim and saw the start of constant touring for the next two years.
Tonight, days away from the release of the follow-up album, Jacco seems eager to introduce the new material. Title track Hypnophobia might not be an obvious number to start with; forgoing the jauntiness of older material, still with a retro feel but distinctly moodier, it has more in common with the soundtrack to a 60s crime drama. Breaking through
the three minute barrier, at the coda the instruments drop away, leaving just his vocals accompanied by keyboard effects. Wary of pushing the audience too soon, this is quickly followed by Clear The Air and Puppets Dangling from Cabinet Of Curiosities, both demonstrating his baroque pop skills. Honed by time on the road, his band don’t put a foot wrong, even though these songs have as many twists in their three minutes as you’d expect from pieces twice the length. The middle section of the show features the new album and, like the opener, the material is darker and less indebted to musical heroes. The set closes with favourites from his debut, Summer’s Game sounding like The Zombies circa Odessey And Oracle, Chameleon drawing on Pink Floyd’s early singles and B-side A House On The Moon sharing the Canterbury DNA of recent Cate Le Bon material. Where Will You Go has added swirling atmospherics at the beginning, before the mellotron rolls in and the rhythm section flexes its muscles like The Beatles circa Revolver. For the encore new single Find Yourself sees a return to the Library Music styles of the first number, but just as the paisley-clad crowd are expectantly clamouring for more, the lights are raised.