For In the Garden
, we're journeying back to the duo's pre-hit era. On the sleeve, Annie Lennox looks really cool and David Bowie influenced. Dave Stewart has facial hair. And so it would continue for them, I like to think.
Looking at the catalogues of a lot of the 80's megasellers, there's some surprisingly edgy and energetic New Wave albums that often have a lot going for them, and In the Garden
in is just such a vein. No hits to speak of, that would come for Eurythmics later on, just really cool-sounding synth music and - occasionally - rather strange guitars too.
Album opener "English Summer" has cool bass sounds, mellow synths, and a dreamy, soft Lennox vocal quite at odds with her later 'belting it out' voice. And she continues with a mellow dream-pop vocal style throughout much of the album.
Ever heard "Belinda"? Well, you should. It sounds - how can I put this - indie/alternative? Eurythmics as an indie band? Well, in 1981 they were sort of indie. "Belinda" is a great tune, and the guitars remind me of something I can't quite put my finger on - I'm thinking of a punk act - nope, it escapes me. It sounds excellent though, and it's my pick of the pops as far as In the Garden
As for influences, I hear snippets of Kraftwerk and Eno-era Roxy Music, alongside the coldness of late-70's Bowie - there's possibly German lyrics in "Sing-Sing". Whatever, the bassline is funky and early-80's modern-sounding, slightly dubby without being annoying.
Plenty of music fans would never dream of investigating In the Garden
, perhaps put off by the Eurythmics' later image. I remember a Record Collector
feature about the Eurythmics, and that's what pricked up my interest, they're good the folks at Record Collector
"Caveman Head" rounds out the highlights then - a stomping, energetic, nervy thing, all hands and arms tight and tense, waving erratically and quite madly in front of you. As for bad songs - why, there are none, though the mood of the album can get a little suffocating at times. Otherwise though, I'm really quite impressed by In the Garden
. So it seems I like a Dave Stewart record ... arghh!Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews