GEOFFREY RICHARDSON – The Garden Of Love

Esoteric Antenna 2015

GEOFFREY RICHARDSON - The Garden Of Love

GEOFFREY RICHARDSON –
The Garden Of Love

Hazy summery record from the Canterbury scene associate who makes nuance the name of the game.

If the title of Geoffrey Richardson’s second solo album – its emotional theme following up 1993’s “Viola Mon Amour” – suggests paradise, the CARAVAN veteran has placed his personal heaven on earth. Each of this record’s dozen cuts is a snapshot of Albion in a season of warmth, the wide gamut of moods reflected in a variety of instruments Geoffrey’s a master of, and though the pieces project understated beauty their pale colors are dazzling. There’s a fine twine of acoustic guitar’s lace and hot throb of percussion from the sparse opener “The Garden Of Love” to “A Simple Farewell” where acoustic reverie descends on the ground.

Still, it’s not a refuge from reality, albeit the orchestral swell behind “Scape” may point that way; nor it’s an idealized look at the artist’s homeland which is praised in the jazzed-up hymn “England, Dear England.” It’s much simpler pleasures that reign here so, beefed up with the organ and piano, the spiritual joie de vivre of “Alleluia 7” has a an elegant pop coating. And while “The Downs” is rolling over subtle funk, the depth of this song should be fathomed with its heart-wrenching introduction and whistled passages showing the gloomier aspect of a contrapuntal wonder.

Once the bow bounces off the strings, the folk strain of it all is bared but, with only “Half Moon” to fully drive the drift into a folk rock Shangri-La, the rocksteady undercurrent of “My Longest Day” or the delectably plaintive “Butterfly” with its “life’s too short” refrain, cracks a lackadaisical smile in a tangle of sadness and bliss. Here, the lively, if slightly bitter, “This Winter” is a mere memory of the cold creating an exquisite contrast to the woodwind dance of “A Different Point Of View”: a brisk admission of merriment on the pastures green. A perfect picture painted in sound.

*****

April 22, 2016

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