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England - Garden Shed CD (album) cover

GARDEN SHED

England

 

Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 128 ratings

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Atavachron
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One might expect a band called "England" to represent the worst of that country's music: The Dave Clark Five, Brotherhood of Man, Slade, Gary Glitter, and other crippling wonders of 20th century British Pop.

But one would be wrong. Garden Shed is hardly the worst of anything, but rather the best of the English Progrock sound concentrated into an hour-long celebration of fine stuff. And if you've got a ticket, you're welcome to join. No doubt derivative of just about every British prog institution but done with such reverence and inspiration it's as if the band didn't know it wasn't the first to do it. Consequently, the 1977 release has taken on an air of legend, an almost Holy Grail-like aspect to some. It doesn't disappoint. A fluid matrix of period synths negotiate 'Midnight Madness', full of early Genesis to be sure but also Becker & Fagen, the Swingles, and Yes. By the end of this first cut the quality of skill in Henderson, Holland, Leigh and Webb is crystal clear. Once past the shameless (and I mean shameless) Yes vocals, thirteen-minute 'Three Piece Suite' is an exquisite number that qualifies as one of the most representative of the genre in its classic, native form-- delicious organ parts, blistering and weeping guitar solos from Frank Holland, the 'trons of Robert Webb dancing with Martin Henderson's bass and the whole group doing a heroic job alternating on voice duties.

The record hits its stride with the utterly hilarious 'Paraffinalea', just over four minutes and not a wasted moment of dazzlingly concise midtempo prog. Sugary and stoned 'Yellow' kinda just sits there but yields to magnificent 'Poisoned Youth' where they just let it go. Two bonuses from '76 on the Piper reissue. Nothing less than definitive if not wholly original, and a great time regardless.

Atavachron | 5/5 |

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