Len Sander, the Swiss six piece release their debut album ‘Phantom Garden’ this week. Clearly devoted to experimentation, from the fragmented tones of ‘Fluttering Lights’ which is paired with a hypnotic rhythm you feel yourself step inside this imaginary garden that is as beautiful as the album’s artwork.
Nature is a theme that seems to tie all nine tracks together, ‘The Bird’ is a brooding, atmospheric piece of alternative with chilling sounds of screams placed against the humming monotony of the intro. This juxtaposes against the beauty of the Scandinavian vocal and delicacy of the lyrics which seem even more poignant when considering that English is not likely to be the band’s mother tongue.
‘Electrocardiography’ is sinister in its build as the first few minutes are mainly made up of instrumental before the vocal begins a twisted narrative followed by a two minute outro which becomes a melange of machine-like instruments and whispers likeable to Warpaint weave within each other. Many contemporaries are capitalising on this form of surreal pop, Bat For Lashes latest album was an incredible example of weaving narrative into music yet Len Sander appear to have taken it one step further by creating a sonar world within ‘Phantom Garden’. The title track is awash of imagery and incredibly engaging as the melody pulses and moves, seemingly leading you through this fantastical and sinister garden world.
The first single ‘Ungrowing’ is a shimmering, grand piece of alt-pop likened to something James Blake would create with its fragmented choruses and heavy piano influence. The influence of genre and production is ever-present throughout, ‘Nightshade’ and ‘Black Bryony’ rely more on the theatrical goth-pop whilst ‘Mendrake’ has a heavy trip-hop sound where the Oh Land like vocal feels like it could also be lent to a piece of progressive house. This album has alarming potential, following the wave of artists including Arthur Beatrice, Agnes Obel and iamwhoiamwhoami who have cracked the UK with their personal brand of gloom pop and Len Sander appears to already be masterful commanders of the genre.