Music Review: The Gardening Club

The Gardening Club, 
LP/Comic book, Martin Springett, 12 songs/48 pgs,, $50

The Gardening Club is probably a lot like the records your parents played to death: Yes, King Crimson and the like. The latest release from Space Wreck Records (a label helmed by Koyama Press’ Ed Kanerva) features canoodling guitars, light-footed drums, far out storytelling and prog rock hyperbole in droves. But since musician-illustrator Martin Springett recorded the album in 1983, at the height of electronic and new-wave hype, The Gardening Club procures itself an affective identity that’s much more paradigmatic. Springett calls it the “cosmic giggle”. And this becomes even more apparent when listening in 2016. The record sounds like the ‘70s; channels the aesthetic and narrative attributes of Middle Ages poetry and art; was released during the heyday of futurist pop, and is now being reimagined more than 30 years later. Naturally, given Kanerva’s day job, the release is accompanied by a gorgeous full-color comic book by Springiest, featuring acid-drenched visuals pulled from the pages of Alice in Wonderland and a coterie of decidedly proper parachute-skirted British ladies. The Gardening Club is currently sandwiched between Chance the Rapper and Mercyful Fate on my Itunes’ recently played folder. All boundaries of past, present and future are fleeting and this record will show you why. (Jeff Low)