OK, so we’re talking about a band of the progressive symphonic metal genre. So we – that’s not the royal We but you and I and my pet badger Albert -are therefore not expecting anything as basic as a three minute pop song or, indeed, any sort of joyful ditty that you might hum whilst waiting for the traffic lights of life to change. No sir, we are talking deeper and darker than any of that but, as Jenna Jameson is my witness, Scottish band Garden come out of all this smelling of roses.
Let’s consider the facts. Garden are a theatrical band that seem to draw heavily on peak period – and by the great lord Apple, I mean the seventies – rock music even if I doubt any of them were even a twinkle in their parent’s eyes at that point in space and time. Where was I? Oh yes, Garden claim to inhabit a sub-genre of metal and yet they have a drummer who can do more than imitate a drum machine on speed. In fact, if it wasn’t for that discipline, I’d declare that I had heard something borne of a jazz heritage. Likewise, the rambling musicianship suggests more than a desire to add complication. Rather it suggests that Garden dare to step outside the norm and, as if to prove that very point, “North” does a more than convincing impersonation of magnificence for the whole of its just shy of ten minute running time.
You just don’t expect a Scottish band to pay attention to detail these days with the slipshod and the insipid being the norm. Garden – God bless them – show the determination and imagination to break that mould of mediocrity and strive for excellence. They certainly can ramble but it is also undeniable that they take us on a musical journey that is undeniably worth taking.
To liberate Captain Picard’s catchphrase, Garden make it so and its full speed ahead until the sunrise, The EP is available from Bandcamp.