There are a lot of repeated things I notice when critiquing so many artists. I’d say somewhere between seventy and eighty percent of the albums or EP’s say something about being in a dark place when writing music. Whether it be a breakup, a recent death or just a long periods of depression that artist utilizes the creative process in a way that is simultaneously cathartic and some would say therapeutic. The other thing I notice is drummers who are tired of sitting behind the kit and want to have more creative control. Both these things are true for Strange Gardens.
On his release A Ritual there is simply no denying the dark qualities on this post-punk inspired EP. In fact, it’s not very hard to draw comparisons to two very popular band's who are associated with dread, anxiety, depression and many other emotions you don’t want hanging around. The first glaring band is Joy Division which has to be mentioned. From the aesthetics to lyrics this has Joy Division written all over it. You could also make a case for The Cure but it’s not as overt.
The album starts with “Cat People” which sounds like a funeral march. It’s ominous because the low hanging synths and delayed guitars. The vocals are way in the back of the mix. I was having a hard making out the words which are covered in some type of hall reverb.
The energy does jump up quite a bit on EP highlight "Medusa". It’s got a goth inspired dance groove going on that plenty of ghouls and goblins should appreciate. "House Of Flames (A Ritual)” is a slow burn. The vocals felt more like ghosts in this track. They are less distinct than before and perhaps more haunting. “The Tower” is a very drum heavy song with the bass drum and snare really taking up most of my focus with a lead guitar line that is wrapped around it. He closes with “1000 Days Of Sun” which might be the other highlight all things considered. The vocals had some clarity here and enjoyed following along with the words.
As an engineer myself I thought he did a great job capturing a classic 70’s post-punk sound. The guitar and drums sounded very similar to what you hear on Unknown Pleasure or Closer. I would have liked to hear more prominence from the vocals on number of the songs but to each his own.
The artist embraces the tried and true aesthetics that was created in the late 70’s. The artist certainly embraces it and you can say he is a purist because he doesn't in the least seem to try and color it up and make it sound more contemporary. To state the obvious if you’re a fan of post-punk you should enjoy this EP.
Become A Fan
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook