Prinze George returns with a delightful and wonderfully made album, ‘Happy Garden’ with infectious joy and fun interwoven into each song, making the listener feel warm and light. After listening to their discography, I can confidently say this duo (composed of a married couple Kenny Grimm and Naomi Almquis) pushed to do something that they have never done before with this project. This album bleeds vulnerability- highlighting the trials and triumphs being in a long-term relationship can bring.
These days most popular songs are about the initial spark of falling in love. The played out trope of breathless looks and first touches. This album is a refreshing take on relationships- and shows being in love for years still holds as much magic as the beginning butterflies, maybe even more. They show us the beauty in growing with someone, and learning how to love during different stages of life. The duo’s wedding bouquets are featured on the cover, as an ode to a commitment of mutual understanding, and to always give effort towards their partnership. The concept is carried throughout the album from songs like “Tenderly” that describe fights and the “dare-you-to-leave-me” mentality that grows from resentment, to “Wingspan” that exposes the insecurities of being vulnerable with someone, to “Voyage” that promises to always make an effort for the other person, even when it feels like the love has faded.
This EP is a phenomenal intersection of analog and digital- where the past and present collide. Recruiting Joey Vershchaeste of “Verksotzi” was a new experience for the two, and they were thrilled to bring their friend and producer to their project. Almquiest states their inspiration came from “80’s Italo Disco” that combines with their staple electro-pop flavor. The catalogue of instruments included: a drum machine found on craigslist, a Fender Jazz Bass, a combination of 3 analog synths, and a Gibson Les Paul. To tie the groove together, the couple brought on the drummer Isabelle De Leon to bring more energy into the tracks. The seal of any great producer is being able to take the life of playing an instrument live, and maintaining that into a digital landscape; which Grimm and Verksotzi did phenomenally. The synth lead and vocoder moments make this album, and they can write a hook like none other. The music carries a sense of urgency common in electronic music, which is opposed by Almquiest’s easy-going crooner-like tone. She sings as though she has all the time in the world to arrive at her destination, it’s comforting and light. Their voices frequently join together in the last refrain, which creates a nice metaphor for their partnership, in both music and life.
‘Happy Garden’ breathes and evolves from song to song creating a perfect harmony of iconic electronic-pop choices. It is a refreshing growth from their previous work, and phenomenally conceptualized. The song ‘Centuries’ perfectly encompasses the EP saying, “Sometimes I worry that our love is killing me.” Grimm and Almquis share their honest fears about love, how that love can change overtime- and that you should let it.
By; Ariha Vaquera