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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars US melancholists add a contemporary edge, 13 April 2002
E. Pilley (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In the Garden (Audio CD)
After a four-year wait the Californian dark pop band return with a more up-to-date sound, but without rejecting the romantic and melancholy nature of their music.
Singer Lydia Fortner sounds as sensuous as ever, but this time the songs have a more contemporary twist. Are the band looking more towards the future - both musically and spiritually - than looking back at the past? Maybe, but the trip-hop rhythms and use of electronics don't distract from the FX-laden guitars and the fairy tales-style subject matter.
The title track is a Dead Can Dance-style invocation which sets up the atmosphere nicely for the rest of the album. Meanwhile an earlier version of "Green Velvet" appeared on Neue Asthetik/Tess compilation "Towards The Sky", where it sounded more traditionally Shroud-like. Here it sounds edgier, but still luxurious. It features guitar lines that are so catchy they'll stay in your head long after listening to the song. The languid pace picks up for the rocky "Vision" which sounds like early Garbage mixed with The Shroud's earlier song "Day and Night" and is indicative of the album's more pop-orientated approach.
Lydia still whispers seductively in your ear, and the guitars are still in evidence, but there is nothing to shock a Morcheeba fan taking a casual listen to this CD. Of course if you do listen closer - and this album rewards the use of headphones - then there is plenty of depth both musically and lyrically for those that seek it.
It's the sign of a good band that they can develop musically. It is the sign of a great band if they can do this and still keep their fans happy. Whether The Shroud have achieved this or not only time will tell. I think this is a worthy successor to "Long Ago And Far Away" and "A Dark Moon Night" and would serve well as a way of introducing the band to the dance fan in your life, before intoxicating them with the gothic delights of The Shroud's first two albums.
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In the Garden
In the Garden by Shroud (Audio CD - 2004)
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