Influenced by The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division and others, the Swiss-American shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden — currently, founding member Andy Jossi (guitar) and Whimsical‘s Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) — was originally founded by Jossi as a solo recording project back in 2010 as a way for the Swiss-born and-based guitarist to plug into his emotions and to focus on writing music without any pressure.
A friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he eventually used for some of his earliest recordings. He was determine to become a better guitarist and songwriter, so he learned from his mistakes, which helped him advance as an artist. As he was growing as a musician and songwriter, Jossi discovered Logic, which led to an improved and lusher quality to his recordings.
Around the same time, Jossi began to notice that the songs he had begun to write were more expansive, and although largely inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop, the material revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist and songwriting posted his compositions on Myspace without expecting much in return but, he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. Although he had enjoyed writing and recording the material he posted on MySpace, he felt as though the material was missing something — vocals.
Hoping to broaden his musical horizons, the Swiss guitarist and songwriter sought out a few local vocalists to collaborate with. His first collaboration was with The Reaction’s Max Burki, one of Jossi’s local musical heroes. Jossi then went on to record two more tracks with Eva Tresch. Technological advances — i.e., home recording studios and programs, as well as file sharing — allowed Jossi to collaborate with vocalists outside of his native Switzerland. His first collaboration with a foreign vocalist, “Noisy Butterfly,” which featured Italian vocalist Damiano Rosetti helped expand The Churchhill Garden’s audience and fanbase outside of Switzerland.
Jossi followed “Noisy Butterfly” with more collaborations with international vocalists including Craig Douglas (USA), Alistair Douglas (AUS) and Hideka (Japan). Back in 2016, Jossi first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude. Vanderwoude commented on Jossi’s “Sleepless” on Facebook, letting him know that she loved his music, had been a big fan and was deeply moved by the emotionality of his work. Her message went on to say that she could “hear his heart” through his work and that his work resonated deeply with her.
As it turned out, Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in on the comment thread that the two should work on a song together. The duo were very excited about the idea but didn’t quite know what to expect. Jossi sent Vanderwoude files for a couple of different instrumental pieces he had written and recorded, and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. As it turned out, Vanderwoude gravitated to one track in particular, and remembers being moved to tears when she first heard it. The end result was their first collaboration together, “The Same Sky.”
“The Same Sky” was released to an overwhelmingly positive response with people generally commenting that they felt a magical chemistry between the two — and after a couple of songs together, they both realized that Vanderwoude should be a permanent and full-time member of The Churchhill Garden. And while Vanderwoude is a permanent member of The Churchill Garden, Jossi has continued to collaborate with other vocalists, including including Seashine’s Demi Haynes and Fables‘ and Swirl’s Ben Aylward.
Back in 2020, The Churchhill Garden released their full-length debut, a double LP album Heart and Soul, which their fans had clamored for, for quite some time. Since Heart and Soul, the duo have been busily writing, recording and releasing new material including the Souvlaki-era Slowdive and So Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star-like “Fade Away,” and the slow-burning, Cocteau Twins-like “Lonely.”
Clocking in at a little over seven-and-a-half minutes, the slow-burning “Rearview Mirror,” the Transatlantic shoegaze duo’s latest single begins with a gorgeous and lengthy acoustic guitar-led intro that slowly morphs into a noisy and towering wall of sound centered around Jossi’s impressive guitar work and Vanderwoude’s achingly plaintive and ethereal vocals. While arguably being the most Storm in Heaven-like track of their rapidly growing catalog, the song details a heartbreakingly bittersweet relationship including its sublime highs, darkest lows and ultimately, its conclusion.
The cinematic, accompanying video for “Rearview Mirror” follows a stranded astronaut who has crash landed on a remarkably Earth-like world — and some mind-bending visual effects that capture the slow-burning storminess of the song.