Whatever English summer truly feels like, "In the Garden" sets proper mood with the very first crickets/drum sticks bash of the opening track. The psychedelic overtones that dominate, mark the true outsider of a debut album. After breaking the ice with their later synth-driven affairs, then switching further to the MOR, "In the Garden" remains the most pleasantly confusing start of an otherwise commercially-driven, yet stunning pop career. Keeping its daring and unpredictable edge, regardless of replays, this truly is where many forthcoming indie-references meet as lost in transition, in favour of a nameless genre - kept frozen in time, while remaining so fresh and beautifully timeless.
A bit krautrocky, maybe it's ahead of it's time as it has the shoegazing Indie sound of later in the eighties. It's fairly accessible, and cohesive, but Lennox is a bit repressed; the albums just not that compelling.
While the Eurythmics are best known for the huge "Sweet Dreams" and a steady flow of soulful, funky hits throughout the 80's, their debut album "In The Garden" is without a doubt my personal favourite of their entire career.
Released in 1981, you will not find any of the band's famous big production values here. No guest appearances, no hexagon drum kit and a distinct lack of harmonica.
No, not even on one song.
Instead, what you get is ten fantastic indie tracks that sound even fresher in 2010 than they did back in '81.
The album begins with English Summer, a wistful mid tempo track full of floating guitar and atmospheric natural ambience. Of course, there is Annie's wonderful voice (which permeates the album throughout as expected). However, on this debut Ms. Lennox sounds more understated than she would become famous for.
This (I'm gonna say it..) ethereal intro soon fades and introduces Belinda, which is when the album truly picks you up and demands your full attention. This is an indie pop song of the highest calibre, imagine classic mid-90's Pulp (minus Jarvis).
Track 3, Take Me To Your Heart, shows more of Dave Stewart's electronic leanings that would of course lead the band to fame within a few years. It still beats with an indie heart...
She's Invisible Now, the fourth cut, is outstanding. Annie's vocal is treated with a slight phazer, over the top of cute 8-bit electronics meet Strawberry Fields Forever-esque mellotron. This is one of the songs that particularly sounds fresh now. A delight from start to finish!
Your Time Will Come wraps up the first side of the album. A change in tempo, it zips along at a good pace following Annie's floating vocals into a properly uplifting chorus. I would liken this album as a whole to Ladytron's third LP "Witching Hour", perhaps it is the Scottish female vocals but I think it's much more in the style of the music itself. This track is where the album title comes from, when Annie sings it you'll be in that special place too.
Side two begins with a spiky number, Caveman Head. 70's glam drums pound over self conscious lyrics, and it suddenly becomes clear what an influence this album must have had on another modern indie band, The Long Blondes.
Never Gonna Cry Again slowly fades in, an inconspicuous start to the lead single from this album (no singles from In The Garden have been featured on any of the Eurythmics "Best Of" compilations). More "Strawberry Fields Forever" mellotron feature here to magnificent effect, embellishing an already strong song.
Number 8, All The Young (People Of Today), takes the tempo back down. A very mature track, it would fit on any later Eurythmics album. Well it would, but it would probably sound bombastic. Here it sounds elegant.
Quirky would be the most fitting word to describe Sing - Sing (or should I say Chantez - Chantez). Bright hi-hats and funky bass dominate the song, very much in the style of Who Made Who.
The album ends with Revenge, featuring a sparkling synth touch that would see light (in slightly more bouncy fashion) again on the breakthrough Eurythmics single "Love Is A Stranger". Here, on Revenge, it takes backstage to a groovy flow and Annie's insinuating lyrics.
In The Garden really is an album ahead of its time.