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Miranda Sex Garden - Suspiria CD (album) cover


Miranda Sex Garden


Prog Folk

3.54 | 13 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars From the 90's alternative rock scene comes one of the stranger outfit called Miranda Sex Gardens with a majority of female members and being anything but a girls group (Banarama or Bangles) or even a basic-RnR group (ala Runaways or Four Non Blondes). These musicians developed a very potent music rather indefinable, but with incredible powers of fantasy inducing. Their music is anything but ordinary and although not progressive in the strict sense, it is certainly so by association. Back in those days (early 90's), few of these groups could be considered adventurous so Miranda Sex Garden was sticking out like a sore thumb in the musical landscape. But around that time happened the start of the second prog boom where the US label Magna Carta was creating a lot of hope and ther famous Swedish trilogy of Anglalandberkdoten arrived, so I must say that I ignored MSG (not to be confused with the awful Michael Schenker Group), much to my dismay more than a decade later.

Enough "Mea Culpa", and let's get on with this quintet of which at least three female members (depending on the album - none babelicious but all rather cute and cuddly) are choosing the sober presentation and vastly talented by introverted music rather than flaunting or strutting their bodies to cameras. Yes, MSG is all about climates and ambiances and rather unusual instrumentation for the times (this was the Grunge years). Picture a sort of alternative rock hovering between Kate Bush (voices and music development), All About Eve (that early Gothic Rock feel), early Radiohead (just starting around the time), and the awesome Dead Can Dance (for the pre-classical music influences) and you might just start to understand how this band was actually fairly original back then. And if I speak of Goth rock and pre-classical music, it is necessary for me to make a precision: we are not talking of gothic classical period influences here, but more of the wave of an acoustically-driven Goth Rock (this was just the start of the movement) with strong classical instrumentation/arrangements. A real strange thing progheads did not pick up this group and widely include it in their fave groups. Because if MSG is still not thought as a progressive group, I can assure you that it is scandalous that progheads still have not picked on them: they are progressive as hell. The extended use of strings is just one of the many hints. But calling this group gothic period classical is an unwanted and misleading shortcut: somehow their classical music influence are much closer to an elitist folk music, not really medieval either, sometimes reaching String Driven Thing or early ELO.

If this album does not reveal MSG at the top of their game, one can already get a glimpse of things to come with Bring Down The Sky and the amazing 8-min+ Inferno. The album ends strangely and unexpectedly enough on a cover of the jazz standard My Funny Valentine, which is certainly not helping the average quality of the album: completely off base and easily the worse track on the album.

While hardly a masterpiece of prog, this little baby could be a very treasured little gem providing you with many thrills. I would consider MSG more as a chief or reference group of the close relative Gothic Rock (in the sense that the Heavy Metal scene is also in the same family as Prog Rock is) and is likely to please the vast majority of progheads. And clearly MSG and DCD are responsible of many of the newer gothic prog bands' major inspiration as Devil Doll is.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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