‘Somewhere Else’ is the new EP from symphonic metal collective Garden. It could well be described as a sequel to their self-titled 2012 EP which, while truly an exhibition of musicality and craftsmanship, gave the impression that it wasn’t quite finished; as if something bigger was yet to come. ‘Somewhere Else’ is that revelation.
Masterminded by student Samuel Bradley, Garden couple that typical symphonic aesthetic with constantly-developing melodies and rhythms, creating a unique, unheard sound which leaves the listener confused and wanting more. While the collective’s creations may not always sound pleasant, they go beyond the standard concepts and constraints of ‘popular’ music and become something much more valuable. ‘Somewhere Else’ is no exception.
Opening with ‘Overture For The Divided’, piano, saxophone, strings and organ beckon us into a world which, at first, appears to be a reasonably simple construction built upon a single riff. In typical Garden style, this is thrown out the window and something much deeper surfaces. As usual, the lyrics are cryptic and one can spend hours trying to interpret their meaning. That secret, however, shall never be revealed. ‘Leaving Home’ opens with a gentle guitar and vocals arrangement which is then expanded with the addition of instruments; somewhat reminiscent of Mogwai. The lyrics also have several possible references to the preceding EP, especially the track ‘Freya’s Song’.
‘Leaving Home’ is certainly the most tuneful and pleasant to listen to for the average listener. The music, nearing the end, comes to a beautiful climax in a frantic flurry with every member giving their all. ’In a Garden’ sounds at first like it belongs on the Legend of Zelda OST, minus the ocarina. The use of woodwind and vocal harmonies creates a chilled mood which carries the listener to a land far away; certainly a welcome rest after the energetic ‘Leaving Home’.
‘Waiting for Fireworks’ opens with a modern take on the medieval consort. The clunky piano compliments the wandering guitar melody excellently. Though strained at times, the lead vocals, courtesy of Bradley, display the heights and depths he is capable of. The final track ‘The View’ begins with a relaxed, Sigur Rós-esque intro but develops into a cavalcade of sound and texture; an adapt conclusion in true Garden style.
The future is uncertain for the Edinburgh/Glasgow group. Sadly live gigs are simply implausible due to the size of variety of instruments required; Garden is certainly a band who does not do half-measures. We must simply have to wait and see what will next emerge from this shroud of secrecy.
garden somewhere else