Arid Garden – Arid Garden – EP Review
Big fan of these five songs on this new EP from Arid Garden, let me say that right from the get-go. This is a highly ambitious band bringing a form of progressive jazz right to the top of my playlist right now. There’s a complete wealth of ideas within each song and within this entire EP…some sounds I can’t do without now. It’s a fantastic combination of music and vocals with layers of intense drama all throughout the music…it sounds like an adventure.
You get an incredible dose of what this four-piece is capable of right away with a beautiful melody and some powerful vocals from lead-singer Anaïs Del Sordo in the opening track “The Day Breakdown,” who brings a lot to the table quickly with inventive lyrics and a completely innovative take on what you can do upfront. Along with the music, this band is taking their style and sound to a different plain than the rest, resulting in the entire five-song set here sounding fresh, creative and unique for every single second.
It is both the musicianship and the vocals that will impress you about this band though. The bass of Giovanni De Luca and the drums of Vincenzo Messina carry this track far and wide as they take turns creating a song that is the full-equivalent of an art-show display. It’s incredibly well-recorded, and really highlights the incredible skills this band possesses. As Del Sordo haunts the track with her floating vocals, this band is coming together in all kinds of incredible ways…and as it punches into the final minutes they bring it all together in such a way that really SOUNDS like this band was meant to play and perform together forever.
You have to love the freedom in their music…it seems to lead them anywhere, and with precision, they seem to follow. Again, much credit to drummer Messina…this guy is built like your grandfather’s watch that never stopped ticking. Absolutely great sound to his rhythmic style, perfectly accented on a track like “Desert,” which again features Del Sordo with her hazy vocals bringing an innovation to the track that you just don’t get from singers that play it safe. She takes chances…some of them work…some maybe not as much, but it’d be impossible not to admire her courage because this committed artist goes for it each and every time. Excellent guitars here from Davide Cotroneo as well, right into the harmonics and into a Pink-Floyd-ish like stratosphere and back down to earth again. Excellent solos in all of Arid Garden’s work…this is sound, sound stuff.
Something like the track “Abyss” is almost more of a theatrical production…something much like the band Hooverphonic would have put out in the middle of their career. Damn…that’s another band that I really wished had caught on more…but artistic endeavours in music can often be polarizing; some people ‘get-it’ while others never will. For what it’s worth, they’ve got a fan in me here…especially in the music of the “Abyss,” aptly-titled because you do just get completely lost in it. Enveloping with its sound and sparklingly clear production, this entire EP just pulls you in close to listen to whatever they come up with through an incredible recording and truly inventive ideas.
The isolated and small-ending, piano-led and beautifully-melodic, “Finale” puts Del Sordo back at the forefront of the stage in this final production. The mood is somber…the melody is wonderful in the piano; Del Sordo can take it right up to the rafters and beyond…sometimes I want to pull her back down with us, and at others I’m right with her like in between 2:20-2:40 of this incredible song. As she finishes the verse, she’s as perfect as an angel and fits this song as beautifully as you could hope. With the piano ending, this theatrical movement from Arid Garden has come to a close…but I firmly believe this is an encore act…I want to hear more already and I can only imagine what they might come up with in the future. Highly innovative, intensely committed and artistic…this was completely rad to listen to.
Find out more about them at: https://www.facebook.com/aridgarden
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