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Gardening Club, The: The Riddle

Last year I reviewed the self-titled album of The Gardening Club, originally released in 1983. The project is led by Martin Springett, a very talented singer/songwriter/musician. After a long time between records The Gardening Club is back with their second album titled The Riddle. Joining Springett (vocals, acoustic guitar) are Sean Drabitt (fretless bass), Wayne Kozak (soprano saxophone), James MacPherson (drums and synth solos) and Norm MacPherson (electric and slide guitar solos, gut string guitar, mandolin, bassoon, keys).

Like the first disc, this is an excellent slice of pastoral pop prog. It’s quite quirky and at first seems fairly simple but once you dig in there is quite a lot going on and the music is actually quite quirky. The album begins with the Beatles-like “The Riddle Overture” with its electric guitar ala George Harrison. The sound is lush with lots of tasty keys and guitar, with the slide work giving off a psychedelic vibe. “Whirled Away” is an upbeat mostly acoustic tune that is super catchy, especially Springett’s superb lead vocals. “Seven Year Old Poet” is slightly darker and more moody featuring subtle changes in direction and great slide guitar. The guitar work throughout the disc, both acoustic and electric, is a definite high point. A super catchy guitar hook denotes “Blues For Richard” while “Pauline” features some gorgeous saxophone. “Leaving Home” is another catchy number with a breezy melody and Springett’s warm lead vocals.

Overall, The Riddle is an excellent choice for those into the quieter side of progressive rock and comes highly recommended. Please check out The Gardening Club and Springett’s solo albums by clicking on the link below.

Track Listing:
1. The Riddle Overture
2. Whirled Away
3. Seven Year Old Poet
4. Blues For Richard
5. Leaving Home
6. Pauline
7. Notes On The Affair
8. The Original Sleep
9. Tears At The Matinee
10. Waltz
11. The Riddle
12. Entracte
13. Overture Surprise

Added: March 21st 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist @ Bandcamp
Hits: 1099
Language: english

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