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Diego Garcia knows how to mine romantic yearning in his work. His acclaimed 2011 solo debut Laura was the ultimate bedroom recording, an intensely focused and utterly entrancing chamber-pop song cycle about unrequited love, his own. The titular Laura was a woman he fell for in college but lost during a hectic period a decade ago when he was fronting Elefant, a New York City-based rock band that toured the world with artists like Interpol, The National and Morrissey. By the time Laura was finished, Garcia accepted the fact that she might only exist in his life as the subject of these songs.
Then he miraculously won her back (and later married her). But those years of estrangement left an indelible mark and continue to inform his work.
Garcia’s new album, Paradise, continues to expand upon the romantic sound he had begun to shape throughout his work on Laura. The album’s hybrid of influences, from the late-sixties ”Anglo” crooners like Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsborg, Leonard Cohen and Scott Walker to the early-seventies passionate balladry of Latin American artists like Roberto Carlos, Jose Feliciano, Piero, and Spaniard Julio Iglesias, is a musical reflection of who he is: a U.S.-bred son of Latin American parents who thinks in English, but can speak fluently in Spanish.