Melodic Revolution 2021
Torontonian illustrator paints enchanting images to bring some light back into our loneliness-stricken world.
The world has significantly changed since Martin Springett released "The Riddle" in 2018, which was why the Canadian artist transformed his operation, when it came to that album’s full-length follow-up, from THE GARDENING CLUB to A GARDENING CLUB PROJECT, reflecting the remote method of “The Blue Door” – fleshed out from home-studio demos to shape a new experience. This record’s recurrent theme being the emptiness of homes, many an aficionado in thrall to the veteran’s 1983 debut offering may find his pandemic-inspired platter a tad discomforting, but there lies the root of the fresh songs’ hope-infused message.
Slowly opening a secret portal to a different dimension, here’s is a concept work, and instrumental “My Muse And I” serves as a perfect overture to its wonders as Springett’s vibrant weave of electric and acoustic lines, as well as Drew Briston’s supple bass and Kevin Laliberte’s sympathetic drumming, congeal into a welcoming, alluring groove whose dynamics seem to expand their scope with every bar until there’s a riveting panorama to marvel at. However, while the aural air can get chilly in the aloof, austere echo of the increasingly insistent “Going North” – although this piece is not as romantically desolate, claustrophobic as “Winter Snow” that will emerge further on, spiced by the immense pining in Martin’s voice – and a violin licks freeze the atmosphere even harder, the strings and piano behind “Two Houses” enshroud the listener in a safer sort of alienation.
Still, the orchestral pop passages of the title track try and remove nostalgic sadness in favor of present delights, before heavy riffs and curlicues of the brief “The Path Not Taken” propose a progressive rock perspective to be admired and contrasted with another wordless cut, the exquisitely pellucid “Mirage” which marries fretless thunder to unplugged strum. After that, the a cappella harmonies introducing the otherwise dry “The Turning Of The Glass” expose the album’s inner logic and finally reveal its optimistic slant and swirl, and the majestic folk throbbing of “I Dream U” radiates a solemn light, the same beaming into the the raga-tinctured and flamenco-flavored epic “Long Tailed Flight” where no lyrics are required to purvey Springett’s worry about this fragile world.
His music makes it stronger – swinging the blue door open and calling people back in.