Band: The Gardening Club
CD Title: The Riddle
Label: Independent Release (2018)
Rating: A Very Listenable Gem for Melodic Prog Fans
Following up on their well-received self-titled album earlier this year, The Gardening Club are back with and all-new release entitled The Riddle. This is a disc that’s forty-five minutes long made up of fifteen compositions mostly vocals but a couple instrumentals thrown in for good measure. Main man Martin Springett has surrounded himself with some very capable players all coming to his assistance in bringing these deceptively complex little musical gems to life. I say “deceptively” because on first listen you might mistake these as rather simple pop “ditties” and yet it is with repeated listens to the whole album that one begins to appreciate the musical depth of the music crafted here. Springett’s vocals always remind me of bands like early Strawbs and Caravan; it’s very English. And much like those two bands, musically he displays a strong emphasis on mixing Folk-Prog with a light jazzy Canterburian feel. Acoustic guitar plays front and centre in these tunes but other instruments make solid appearances. We’re treated to some subdued electric guitar solos, saxophone solos and walking-bass support and much more. All of these tunes are under five minutes but it’s clear from the opening “Riddle Overture” [3:11] Springett doesn’t really need a lot of time to add plenty of inventive structure and instrument arrangements to ensure his music clearly lands in the prog genre. All of this makes The Riddle a very listenable and thoroughly enjoyable musical gem especially for fans of melodic prog.