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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Savage Garden

Savage Garden

Review by Gary Hill

Several backing musicians join this Australian duo (Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones) on this album. R & B/Dance music has never been a style to which I have been drawn. Therefore, this album found it`s way into my heart despite a definite disadvantage. This CD really captures much of the feel of older R & B while updating it with modern dance music influences. It is well written, produced and performed.

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Track by Track Review
To The Moon and Back
Some intriguing sound effects and a techno beat start this one off. After the intro, it drops into a very nice modern dance/R&B sort of groove. The vocals are incredibly strong on this track. This is a very well produced and arranged song, and features quite a pleasant acoustic guitar solo that flirts with both jazz and Spanish textures.
I Want You
This track has a very familiar feel to it, without being an obvious rip off of anything. A wonderful combination of sounds, both retro (`60`s/`70`s pop) and modern dance/pop pervade this tune. This was a big hit, and understandably so. It is an infectious and very fun song. A greatly intriguing break (almost in a hip-hop sort of mode) makes an appearance.
Truly Madly Deeply
Truly Madly Deeply is a good solid pop ballad/love song.
Tears of Pearls
A very strong and high energy dance number with shades of old R & B textures, Tears of Pearls is another very well done song which deftly combines modern dance sensibilities with older influences.
Basically a very soulful sort of treatment on a mellow dance number, the vocals on this one at times seem rather Michael Jackson influenced.
Carry On Dancing
The feel to this song is wonderful. The texture here is well orchestrated and intoxicating. This is an incredibly well done song and I challenge you not to fall in love with it.
Violet has a very competent funk groove going, and the Michael Jackson sort of feel is more prevalent here. This piece contains some nicely bluesy guitar work in places, as well.
Break Me Shake Me
This track is still a dance/R & B number, but really has a more gritty rock sort of groove in many ways. The feel here is kind of a bit of The Artist meets Michael Jackson with shades of an alternative rock mix thrown in. This is another very catchy song, and the bass line, in particular, is quite intriguing, but the entire arrangement is very entertaining. This is my favorite track on this album.
A Thousand Words
A moody sort of electronic texture leads into a solid funk/dance groove that contains some guitar work which sounds just a tiny bit Trevor Rabinish in places. This is another solid track, in fact, there really are no weak numbers on this album. Another track which really combines older R & B modes with modern dance grooves, A Thousand Words features a whispered line that is very effectively used in here several times.
A mature funk number which begins with acappella vocals, Promises features some intriguing lyrical imagery.
Santa Monica
This is another song that shows aspects of the sounds of The Artist. A very nice ballad, Santa Monica serves as a fitting conclusion to the album. This is a very pretty song.
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