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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Gardening Club

The Gardening Club

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of an album originally released in 1983. The featured musician here is Martin Springett who wrote the music, but this is a self-titled album by a band called "The Gardening Club." The mix of sounds here really seems like the brand of prog that would have fit in quite well with the resurgence of progressive rock that was just coming about in those days via Marillion. I think this is really a lost masterpiece in so many ways.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Midnight Road
Coming up gradually, this has a great melodic prog meets pop sort of sound. I'm reminded quite a bit of Klaatu as the vocals join.
Mole Hole Blues
The opening guitar section seems like what you might get if you did a progressive rock take on a Robert Johnson styled guitar part. The tune works to more of a jazz leaning sound as it works forward from there. I love this cut. It has some killer melodic guitar work and is just crazy cool. The instrumental movement at the end is packed with jazzy goodness.
The Traveller
There is a bit of a Spanish element to some of this. It's very much a fusion oriented number that's fast paced and has some great melodic elements at play. The first and most extensive movement of this is a powerhouse instrumental jam. It works to some mellower stuff later in the piece that's a bit trippy and has some non-lyrical vocals more as instrumentation.
Andromeda
Mellow sounds merge with vocals at the start of this, making me think of early UK quite a bit. The track gradually gets more involved and powered up as it moves forward. They eventually bring this into some seriously powerful territory before moving out into some powerhouse prog rock jamming to take the piece through the instrumental movement. It resolves to a conclusion at the end of that.
The Garden
The guitar textures that are the heart of this instrumental piece make me think of Steve Hackett quite a bit.
Three Days in Brighton
Another instrumental, this does a great job of combining a melodic mainstream prog sound with more fusion elements.
Rebirth
With a lot of jazz in the mix, this is a melodic and quite strong number. This is very much like a mix of jazz and folk prog.
The Stone That Speaks
Mellow, but dramatic folk prog elements bring this in tentatively. That holds the cut for a while, but it shifts toward a sedate space music vein after a time. Then it drops to almost silence, and a folkier segment emerges to start a new building process. Eventually it works out to the song proper with some great melodic vocals. While this retains that folk prog sound, there are elements of things like The Allman Brothers in the mix here.
Endersby Meets the Team

I love the cool melodic prog section that opens this and builds as it makes its way forward. There is definitely some fusion in the mix on this instrumental, too. It's a great ride.

Aerial Adventures
More of a pure melodic prog sound with a quirky arrangement is the concept here. This is bouncy and fun.
Endersby Meets the Chef
A mellow instrumental section holds a bit section of the beginning here. In fact, the vocals don't enter until just before the one-minute mark. Again, I' m reminded of the mellow side of early UK. This intensifies slowly and gradually. The closing instrumental segment gets quite intense as it moves forward.
Nirvana Isn't
The intricate guitar on the opening of this makes me think of Steve Hackett, but again vocally I'm reminded of early UK in some ways. This makes for an intriguing combination of sounds as the cut works forward.
After the Glow
Coming in hard rocking and intense, this has some fusion in the mix. There are hints of pop rock along with some King Crimson elements. It's a classy cut that's oddly accessible.
Upside Down Blackbird
I'm reminded quite a bit of Roxy Music on this number. I dig the cool bits of funk in the mix. The rocking guitar is tasty, too. All in all, this is another intriguing piece of music.
When You Live This Way
There is a bit of a punk DIY sound to this. It's a classy cut that still manages to have some prog tendencies. There is a bit of a jazz element at play in some ways, too.
New York Moon
Mellow UK and King Crimson come to mind here. This is a mellower sort of number that works quite well. It eventually makes its way out to more rocking territory before it's over.
Unlisted Cut: The Riddle Overture
This closing instrumental is a powerhouse prog rock jam with a number of movements and changes.
 
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