There's something about the beauty of nostalgia. It's something that Classixx seem to be more than familiar with. Whether it was their work remixing under their Young Americans moniker, or their penchant for dressed down pop, the duo has always been able to exist with a nod to the past. Hanging Gardens is full of them and their appropriation of the sleeve for Tangerine Dream's 1988 album Optical Race. See the opening title track for a little Fleetwood Mac, or how about some appetizer sized Prince licks on the Nancy Whang featuring "All You're Waiting For." Their technique of respectful homage continues throughout the album, with "Holding On" sounding like the follow up to Startdust's "Music Sounds Better With You." Classixx mixes up their more poppy material with a selection of instrumentals that play well through Hanging Gardens. The duo's strengths lie both in songwriting and production. With the vocal tracks there is plenty of both on display. Somehow they manage to craft songs that fit each of their guest artists like a glove. The synthetic bells of "Long Lost" seem tailor made for the cherubic vocals of Pat Grossi. Unfortunately, "Supernature" is not a cover of the Cerrone classic, but its glassy disco nearly fits the bill. In the end Hanging Gardens is a decidedly fun pop record that does not forget that there is plenty in the well to draw from. Double LP housed in a die-cut sleeve.
- music label: Innovative Leisure 2013
reviewed by Joey Coco 06/2013