Rose City Band: Garden Party [Album Review]

Rose City Band
Garden Party
Thrill Jockey Records [2023]

Rose City Band’s Garden Party is a delightful blend of psychedelic and country sounds that create a truly unique listening experience. This fourth album in the band’s catalog is a continuation of the group’s porch music which features the signature sound of guitarist Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips, Moon Duo), the fantastic smoldering pedal steel runs from Barry Walker, stand out keys from Paul Hasenberg, and Moon Duo bandmates Sanae Yamada (synthesizers) and John Jeffrey (drums, percussion).

Garden Party features eight tracks that showcase the band’s ability to create dreamy soundscapes that focus on laid-back, summery vibes. The album opens with the upbeat and infectious “Chasing Rainbows” which sets the tone for the rest of the album with its catchy guitar riffs, pedal steel and harmonious vocals. It also has this fantastic tempo change around the almost three minute mark where you briefly hear silence followed by several drum beats transitioning you into the more hazy ending. From there, the album takes the listener on a journey through a variety of moods and textures, ranging from the wistful “Porch Boogie” to the hazy and contemplative “Saturday’s Gone.”

One standout track on the album is undoubtedly “Garden Song,” which features a beautiful melody and a memorable guitar solo that will leave you breathless. The song perfectly encapsulates the band’s ability to create a sense of longing and nostalgia through their music, and is one of the best tracks on the album. More than any other record the group has released, Garden Party sounds closer to the Rose City Band live show experience. It possesses an synergy that is harder to capture in the studio compared to the stage and is a better listen for it.

Overall, Garden Party is another album that showcases the talents of Rose City Band and their ability to create music that is both relaxing and thought-provoking. Fans of psychedelic rock, country, and folk music will find plenty to love on this album, and it is a perfect soundtrack for lazy summer days spent lounging in the sun, spinning stories and drinking your favorite beverage.

“Chasing Rainbows” / “Garden Song” / “Moonlight Highway”

Woods / Allah-Las / Babe Rainbow

Earth Trip (2021) / Summerlong (2020)

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Thomas Wilde

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