Exposé Online banner

The Gardening Club — The Riddle
(Gonzo Multimedia , 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-05-14

The Riddle Cover art

Martin Springett’s 1983 album called The Gardening Club is a pretty obscure item. I do not personally know anyone who’s heard it, though it was reissued in 2017 by Gonzo Multimedia and seems to have generated a bit of interest at that time. Apparently that reissue spurred Springett into reviving the project, and now, 35 years after the debut, there is a new Gardening Club album. This is an expertly made set of gentle folk-rock with some progressive tendencies. It’s a very English-sounding music, and one could easily expect to see Anthony Phillips listed in the credits — but no, this is a Canadian group featuring Springett with Norm MacPherson, Sean Drabbit, Wayne Kozak, and James MacPherson (I can’t find any listings saying who plays what other than Norm MacPherson being described as a guitarist). Other comparisons might include Ciccada and Celeste, for those familiar with European music. In addition to composing the music, Springett is responsible for the lovely artwork. He is a retired graphic artist, and has album credits going back to the 70s including Argent’s Circus album cover. “The Riddle Overture” that starts the album is one of the pieces that approaches progressive rock, with a full-band sound featuring some lovely synthesizer and slide guitar parts backed by acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and what sounds like a small string section. “Whirled Away” sounds kind of like a cross between a George Harrison song and something Anthony Phillips might have done on Sides. Other songs stake out related territories, even bringing to mind some of Peter Blegvad’s work. There are lovely interludes with finger-picked guitars and fretless bass to inject a hint of jazz; “Pauline” features a bassoon as the lead instrument; and I can’t help noticing the outstanding slide guitar on most of the tracks. The Riddle is a beautiful album, superbly crafted and full of nice touches without many hints of darkness. Normally I might be put off by this lack, but The Gardening Club drew me into their world, and I thank them for it.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): The Gardening Club / Martin Springett

More info
http://gardeningclubmusicandart.ca/the-riddle

Latest news

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Praise Space Electric - Mushroom Jazz – This is progressive rock with a groove. The title Mushroom Jazz is actually a pretty apt name, as this is not too stylistically far away from Acid Jazz. Weird analog synth sounds, funky bass and...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues