Don Niño – In the Backyard of Your Mind
The circling, delicately picked-out acoustic guitar lines and soft-yet-sprightly tunes that characterise Don Niño’s debut owe a significant debt to the pastoral avant-pop of Gastr del Sol, Jim O’Rourke and David Grubbs. In the Backyard of Your Mind marshals a familiar assemblage of shuffling percussion, hypnotic melodies and hushed vocals, but there are plenty of new ideas floating around here in the understated shimmers of guitar distortion hovering in the background.
Niño’s talent for imaginative arrangements is undeniable: the combination of acoustic melodies, whistling, brass, handclaps and whirring electronics on Free Birds, for example, manages to somehow sound simultaneously gentle and cacophonous, teeming with a fuzzy, summery life. Backyard is a record so attuned to the sensibility of its predecessors that it feels almost symbiotically entwined with them, but the result is a voice that adds new layers and depth to an existing tradition.