Our Broken Garden - When Your Blackening Shows
With the release of May's Lost Sailor EP, Bella Union debutantes Our Broken Garden impressed with a set of dreamy, down-tempo songs. Of course, Anna Bronsted's effortlessly magnetic vocals were the main draw although the music itself, which quietly threatened to creep up on you in the dark and float you away, gave a glimpse of what could be a remarkable first album proper.
By sticking to their guns (although, perhaps that should be bow and arrow, considering the primary weapon of La Sagitaire's femme fatale), they've nearly gone and done just that. At only nine tracks long, it's not a massive expanse on their initial release, especially considering two of the tracks are lifted from said EP. The title track is spoiled here in a translation that neuters the EP's stark electronics, yet The Blinding remains a remarkable gem that proves a honey-melting voice and measured musicianship, played by folk who don't feel the need to show off, is sometimes all you need.
Those folk include Moogie Johnson (bass) and Soren Bigum (guitar and keyboards), the two-thirds of the Garden who aren't Anna, although other players have been drafted in to keep the musical pallette interesting. There are a number of significant contributions, such as the discordant strings that join Watermark's piano and organ for the song's chorus, as well as the punctuating beat that cuts through The Samaritan's bare, strange atmospherics like a dying heartbeat. There's no denying this is beautiful music, evidenced fully on the majestic Cardia where Anna invitingly coos 'Elevate me!', but it needs time to settle before it can be fully appreciated. Doubtless, this won't be exciting for some but those who go in for this type of thing will be elevated along with Bronsted. For fans of Aimee Mann, Zero 7-era Sia, and sexy policewoman Joan Wasser - good company to be in!