EP Review: Eva Gardner – Darkmatter

Born and raised in Los Angeles, USA, Eva Gardner is an alternative rock artist who has been performing with live bands in her hometown since the age of fourteen. Darkmatter is her second solo EP consisting of six songs that explore themes such as nostalgia and gratitude. Here’s our track by track review.

By Graeme Smith

Feature Photo by Ryan Aylsworth

Opening track Is Love Enough starts with a gloomy, echoing solo electric guitar, setting the tone for what is come. What that is, is Goth-infused rock and roll, led by Eva’s expressive and charismatic vocals. You can tell from the off that Eva has a lot of experience performing live. She has a way of drawing you in with her voice alone.

What you stay for, though, is her relatable lyrics. Following the philosophical Is Love Enough is the dreamy California Bliss, a tale of trying to find some peace in a world of chaos. Gone is the moody tone, replaced with something light and ethereal, with electronic overtones joining its rock and roll leanings.

Track three is the previously released single London Nights. Transporting us from sunny California, we find ourselves a little closer to home. Eva takes cues from ’90s Brit pop acts like Catatonia and Elastica as she paints her picture of carefree hedonism. It rounds off the first half of the EP nicely.

It’s followed by Anywhere But Here, a wistful ode to trying to escape a painful moment. It feels like the hangover to the debauchery of London Nights with a bright, singalong chorus and memorable keyboard hook.

The EP’s penultimate track is High Moon. It’s cosmic, with sci-fi synths and heavenly vocals. There’s an undercurrent of psych, and it blends the organic and the digital beautifully. That’s not its only contradiction though. It also somehow manages to feel retro, with nods to ’80s Goth, while also being completely fresh.

And things close suitably enough with Call It A Day. It’s the EPs punkiest moment with a dirty guitar riff and apathetic lyrics. It’s low-key intro lulls you into a false sense of security before it explosive, triumphant conclusion.

It’s clear from Darkmatter that Eva is someone who knows music, so I wasn’t that surprised to learn that it runs in her family. Her mother, Kim Gardner, was a proponent of the ’60s and ’70s British rock scene. After her musical youth, Kim moved out to LA and founded the Cat & Fiddle pub in Hollywood. It’s great to see Eva carrying her torch, and putting her own stamp on it.

You can check out Darkmatter below.