Prinze George – “Happy Garden”
US duo Prinze George – Kenny and Naomi Almquist – have just released their second album, “Happy Garden”, The long awaited follow up to their 2016 debut, “Illiterate Synth Pop”. The album features five already released tracks along with five unheard new ones, which starts with the lead track, the energetic “Take Off”. What a way to kick off an album with 80’s feel good synths coupled with Naomi’s equally 80’s new wave vocals as she reminds her husband (Kenny) that he “can’t take off without me now”. The LA couple have used the album to showcase their relationship as well as their mutual understanding of each other both in life and in music.
That really comes through in the second track, “Tenderly”, which is just understated retro synth heaven! This tune rocks! And by that I mean its sober, sublime rhythm and the sultry pace of the soundtrack is so addictive together with Naomi’s sometimes-brutally honest and sexual lyrics. “Tenderly” is perhaps the anti-love song of 2021 that you’re likely to hear. But it’s all so true! “Taller” deals a different twist and sound to this already quirky collection. Imagine Robert Palmer meets The Cure. Yeah, it’s gone that way! The synths are still there but with an electric guitar as the main backbone of this song and a ‘lazy’ sounding drum beat. Oh, and be prepared for it to just, stop.
The dance, pop beat of “Garden In The Sky” brings us back up to where we left off with the first two tracks as the song builds to an infectious beat as if it were a 90’s club anthem released in the very early 80’s. Naomi’s vocals are Madonna-esque a la “Confessions” era and eventally succumb to superb vocalisation as the middle-eight to end is a riot of sound and vision. I’ve just realised what Naomi’s voice and the musical production reminds me of. Fleetwood Mac. And that’s never more apparent than with “Wingspan”. This is “Dreams” reborn but with a more solid beat and an even more sublime production. Along with “Tenderly”, this is a standout track. So far.
“Stay Up” returns us to clubland and if you don’t start throwing your arms in the air a one minute in, then nothing will! C’mon and celebrate life with me and ‘stay up’. Up. Glorious. “Crazy House” drops back to wierdsville. “Crazy House” by name crazy song by nature. Synth and vocalisation overload will entrap you with this odd if not superb track. More dance and fast moving beats with plenty of the whole year of 1981 wrapped around its outer casing just for good measure. And that extends to “Voyage”. Just one “Voyage” for Prinze George(!) We step into 1982 with this track, as we enter a more defined synth-pop skyline and a brighter production all round.
The duo do like to keep us dancing with the return to the floor anthem, “Centuries”, and there’s more Stevie Nicks almost mirror vocals from Naomi across this atmospheric guitar synth odyssey. That word could also be applied to the closing track, “Wave Goodbye”, which drops the pulse and the tempo down as the song allows you to wind down for the journey home. Naomi just needs to sing “ooooh oooooh” multiple times, and so she does. Ever polite, Prinze George thank us for our time with them in their ‘happy garden’ and we thank them for a truly outstanding collection of awesome new songs to celebrate life, love and the wonderful gift of sound. A collection of top synth-pop-dance tunes and some kooky chill numbers to burn away a Summer’s afternoon/evening with or just play it whenever you want. I know I will be!