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England - Garden Shed CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 187 ratings

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3 stars This one-off album from the final days of the golden age of progressive rock is often cited as one of the great lost albums. I don't think it is. I think it's a good album that's worth getting if you stumble upon it, but hardly the sort of thing one should undertake a life-long quest in search of. With liberal doses of Yes, Genesis and Supertramp shining through England's music, Garden Shed is a strongly symphonic, but not particularly original, and occasionally lightweight affair.

The album is centered around two stong epics. The closing 16 minute cut Poisoned Youth is an engrossing composition with a percussive intro, a dark synth-laden vocal segment, a racing piano powered portion, some threatening organ work, polka-inflections and a series of daring melodies. It is reasonably impressive without being even remotely endearing.

The 13 minute Three Piece Suite is another attention grabber, with Robert Webb's organic keyboards flavouring the superbly flowing piece, in a manner reminiscent of the style of Italy's Locanda Delle Fatte (in fact I draw a strong correlation between the two bands, as both came out with their only album in 1977 as classic prog was dying, and have a similar sound, although I think that Locanda Delle Fatte's album is a far more exciting work).

Of the shorter songs, the jerky Paraffinalea makes the biggest impression, while the pastoral Yellow (despite some excellent Steve Hackett inspired guitar) and disjointed Midnight Madness are pleasant, but forgettable ... which is probably an understatement when it comes to describing the minute-long All Alone.

Like a few bands that worked in the late 70s (Happy The Man, Kayak and Breathless-era Camel come to mind), England have a sound and style that I suspect will appeal more to neo-prog fans that those expecting meaty classic progressive rock. ... 60% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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