This dreamy, avant-garde album of 1981 gave little indication of the Eurythmics' subsequent melodic pop direction that led them to mega stardom for most of the decade. It more closely resembles the work of 1970s experimentalists like Howard Devoto
, Brian Eno and German artists like Can
. Sometimes it even sounds like the later Cocteau Twins or the more ethereal varieties of world music. The poetic imagery and melodies are superb but it's as if Lennox & Stewart went out of their way to avoid popular appeal.
This direction is all the more odd in the light of their previous band, the brilliant but underrated pop group The Tourists
with their catchy tunes. In The Garden is a highly atmospheric work and contains at least two classics. The first is the rousing Belinda - to which Holger Czukay
contributes French horn - with its cascading guitar textures, mournful drone and oriental backing vocals soaring to a scorching climax. She's Invisible Now is the second, an eerie, mournful song with a haunting spoken countdown.
English Summer is replete with chirping crickets, distant voices & traffic sounds, whilst Take Me To Your Heart & Your Time Will Come both have strong melodies. The problem is that the delivery is too subdued and understated to be immediately appealing. 'Heart' has a vague eastern feel owing to Czukay's "Thai stringed instrument." Anne's vocals on 'Your Time' are particularly arresting. The voice samples and found sounds on Caveman Head create a striking, other-worldly air.
The album's melancholia is particularly evident on the lament All The Young People Of Today, a slow song with muffled vocal samples and tortured guitar parts. The French track Sing-Sing's oneiric mood is interrupted by animal & metallic sounds. The mid-tempo Revenge, a lyrical gem, concluded the original album; it contains truly bizarre sound effects including normal and demented laughter. With its ticking clock and brooding sax, Le Sinistre amply lives up to its title.
In contrast, Heartbeat Heartbeat is edgy and uptempo, whilst the live version of Never Gonna Cry Again with its lilting beat is far more varied and appealing than the studio version. Of the other two live recordings, 4/4 In Leather is buoyant and percussive; Take Me To Your Heart which has a spoken French intro, concludes the album. People who like Magazine, The World of Skin
, the Neo-Psychedelia of the 1990s like Rose Chronicles, the above-mentioned German avant-gardists, Brian Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
, etc. will appreciate In The Garden.
Beautiful photographs of Lennox & Stewart
enhance the fold-out digipack & the booklet that contains a brief bio by Phil Savidge that focuses on the band's history
, style & influence as well as the track listing and information on the musicians, photographers & designers. The sound is crystal clear, revealing the depth and intricacy of the complex vocal & instrumental textures.