Girlfriends and Boyfriends’ Our Garden deserves your attention

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      Girlfriends and Boyfriends
      Our Garden (Pop Era)

      You can’t judge a record by its cover, of course, but you can get some clues from it. The artwork for Girlfriends and Boyfriends’ Our Garden features a Shannon Hemmett photo of a chopped-up red rose lying on what looks like a jet-black satin bedsheet. In colour scheme and subject matter it bears a resemblance to the covers of Ministry’s With Sympathy and Depeche Mode’s Violator. Our Garden doesn’t really sound like either of those LPs, but it does come across like a document from the decade that spawned them.

      To be specific, it sounds a lot like a vintage new-wave/postpunk record. Proceedings kick off with “A Flower”, driven by Grant Francis Minor’s Peter Hook–indebted bass-playing. Pete Pano­vic’s effects-drenched guitar shards, as heard on “Forgiven Lust”, could have been lifted from a Killing Joke or Chameleons record, and drummer Adam Fink’s rolling toms on “Hearts Undone” and elsewhere suggest he has a Cure record or two in his collection.

      Notice that I said Our Garden sounds a lot like an old new-wave-era record. It doesn’t sound exactly like one. No one back then used reverb to quite this extent, which is one of the sonic signatures of producer Felix Fung, who recorded Our Garden at his Little Red Sounds studio. (Fung, it should be noted, was a founding member of the like-minded Mode Moderne.) That alone gives the album an “indie rock circa now” sound, and the band’s impressive chops and solid songwriting ought to be enough to earn your attention, even if you weren’t around when The Head on the Door came out.