Published Apr 24, 2020White Poppy — a.k.a. British Columbia's Crystal Dorval — is best known for dreamy pop soundscapes drenched in reverb, saturated with lo-fi recording hiss and layered with sweetness. Paradise Gardens digresses ever so slightly from this aesthetic, at least initially, resulting in a slight identity crisis resolved by the strength of her newfound pop leanings.
The opening track, "Broken," offers White Poppy's trademark beautiful melancholy vibe but with an 80s pop sensibility and cleaner production than usual. It's very catchy, a characteristic not routinely associated with her music. When "Hardly Alive" arrives, a stark realization occurs: Dorval has a nice voice too. It's a conclusion several albums in the making, made all the more apparent by condensing the air from her delicate — yet massive — reverb chambers, allowing Dorval's voice to ring clearly. "Hardly Alive" is a slice of pop perfection that Cocteau Twins would have gladly claimed as their own.
By the time "Orchid Child" reclaims the ethereal caverns, we are once again firmly planted back where we started on this journey with previous White Poppy offerings. It's a comforting sound that mesmerizes and gently sways in and out of consciousness as we float around, pondering our heart's desires, of which one is certainly to return back to those stickier songs. (Not Not Fun)