Communicant At The Hotel Cafe, Wednesday September 18th 2019
On Wednesday night, Los Angeles-based new band Communicant gave us a little taste of their psychedelic indie-pop at the Hotel Café, and if I immediately got a vague Tame Impala vibe during their first songs, their other material soon revealed many more sonic nuances.
The first tunes were a blend of psych-dream-pop with Dylan Gardner’s bright vocals, and a breeze of optimism in their euphoric guitars… while the third song, ‘Spotlight’ added a groovy dancefloor to their upbeat and catchy music. It was not a surprise to read that the band worked with Ben Goldwasser, as several songs had the same infectious disco ball feel than MGMT’s songs.
With its R&B splashing above dreamy soundscapes, the next one had an interesting mix, part sun-soaked, part melancholic with original guitar effects, while ‘Better Than Me’ calmed down the scene with a more intimate ambiance and a sweet catchiness. During their short set, they played with a colorful palette, going even more R&B with ‘Privacy’, but always letting a large part to their guitars. On ‘New York Times’, Gardner shared the lead vocals with bassist Anna Carmela for a nice change but the same dreamy pop-psych sensibility transformed in an even more hooky number.
I remember seeing Dylan Gardner solo about 3 years ago during a Record Store Day. At the time he had a Beatle haircut and was playing his pop songs with this same youthful passion and communicative enthusiasm, as he had already reached his own fame with a few viral Youtube videos and a single, ‘Let’s Get Started’ which had reached 2.7 million streams on Spotify. He was even signed by Warner Bros. Records in 2014, but he has now dyed his hair in blonde and assembled this new band Communicant, which will release their self-titled, debut LP on October 25 with MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser on production duties.
‘Working with Ben was a dream come true and brought us even closer to our vision,’ Gardner has declared in interviews, ‘I’ve always been inspired by his experimentation in the studio as well as songwriting in the fun, creative ways which only Ben knows. A mentor and a friend, he elevated the ambiance and texture of the songs, specifically on the album closer ‘Temporary’ with giant, swirling soundscapes and cascading delays.’
‘Temporary’ was precisely the last song they played at the Hotel Cafe, it was also the least upbeat tune of the night, a poignant dreamscape stripped down to the guitars and showcasing Dylan’s beautiful vocals.
Communicant, which consists of David Von Bader on guitar, Anna Carmela on bass and Mark Gardner on drums, showed real chemistry on stage, while their modern pop sensibility was effortlessly mixing indie psychedelia with nostalgic R&B touches. Watch for their debut album next month!
Better Than Me
New York Times