Ty Tabor's solo material (1998's Moonflower Lane and 2002's Safety), as well as his side projects (Jelly Jam, Jughead and Platypus) mostly exploited his melodic and softer tendencies over his progressive and heavier strengths - which also unfortunately don't always find their way on to records by his main band, King's X. But on Rock Garden, Tabor sounds revitalized, bouncing back from his divorce album with riffs as heavy as any that King's X has laid down in recent years.
Taking its title from Tabor's Houston backyard, Rock Garden includes plenty of Beatle-esque compositions featuring Tabor on all vocals, guitars and bass (with help from Randy St. John on drums and percussion). He still has relationship issues, but at least he seems happier. "Ride" opens the record with a mighty surge, as Tabor battles conflicting emotions and takes out his aggressions with a jaw-dropping guitar solo at the end that rivals "It's Love," considered the biggest hit King's X ever had. "Stalker" rumbles King's X-style, while "Play" and "Afraid" would have fit nicely on the band's latest CD, Ogre Tones. Other songs, such as the punchy "She's a Tree" and the lush "Wading In" and "Beautiful Sky," are more typical of Tabor's previous solo material but feel no less out of place on Rock Garden than the Tabor-penned songs on a King's X record.
Rock Garden is Tabor's strongest record - and coming off the heels of Ogre Tones, one of the best King's X albums in years - it's an encouraging sign that his muse is still alive and rocking.
3) I Know What I'm Missing
6) Beautiful Sky
7) She's a Tree
8) Take it Back
9) Wading In
11) Pretty Good