New Scottish duo Forgotten Garden (Ines Dias Rebelo and Danny Elliott) have embraced the art of writing about that most universal of themes, love, by producing a tight four track EP that tells the story of a break up from initial implosion to a glimmer of a hopeful future.  The band’s first release sounds anything but; the four tracks zing with gorgeous pop lines accompanied by folk, rock and dream pop tones, whilst Ines’ vocals turn chameleon like from ethereal to earthy in a heartbeat.

In order to get the most from this EP, the tracks are best listened to in chronological order.  Having said that, the stand out for me is the title track which comes third in order.  ‘Broken Pieces‘ meets us at the moment of despair in the tale of the relationship breakdown and takes a tender look at what may come next.  The vocals are strongest here, with tenderness and vulnerability giving way to passion before coming back to despair once more.  The acoustic sounds perfectly complement the vocals, leaving the lyrics to tell the story.  Rarely has the pain of an ending been told as simply and truthfully as this:

Trying to hold onto the broken pieces, the broken pieces of my life

The song goes on to look at the possibilities of the next step:

and if you did come back, would we still walk hand in hand

Danny is the writer of the band and he shows a talent for bringing out the emotional intensity of a song; if we got back together, would it be happy ever after?

Reverting to the chronological order of Broken Pieces, the opener, ‘Snowflakes‘ hits the listener with a synth laden track full of joy – the music that is, not the words which are all about a bad relationship.  The haunting, ethereal vocals from Ines float above the guitar and bassline from Danny and lead superbly into the second track, ‘Cage of Hurt‘.  Driven by the deceptively simple guitar lines, the more earthy tones of Ines’ vocals are given a chance here, something that is enhanced by the addition of guest vocals from Danny R Diaz.  The fourth and final track, ‘Deep Soul Light‘ brings a glimmer of hope and light into the darkness of the previous three, the banging bassline showing us that there is a new dawn coming.  It’s a great way to end Broken Pieces and on this basis, Forgotten Garden have a strong future. 

Although just starting out on his journey with the band, Danny’s advice for aspiring musicians is still full of good practical advice, particularly in regard to promotion.

I think aspiring musicians should put the work into creating music that is up to the standard set by other artists in their particular genre. There’s a lot of good music out there and if the music you are going to release isn’t at a sufficient level then it’s likely to sink without trace. Obviously because music is so subjective it is a bit difficult to know where you stand relative to others but by listening to releases that are around at the moment you are going to get a good idea. I think that you need to try and work your music up to the point where you think “yep, that’s as good as so and so”.

Secondly, when you have released something you then have to put a lot of work into promoting it. I see peeps on forums sometimes bemoaning the fact that they aren’t getting the recognition that they think they deserve. Often this is because they haven’t actually put much effort into promoting their work! Just bunging stuff on Spotify or other sites doesn’t (usually) get you very far. People have to know that your music exists. You have to keep pushing it and today that often means spending money. Unless you have a record label with the resources to market you then it’s going to be you that’s spending the money. I think that you just have to accept that that is today’s reality.

Broken Pieces was released on 4 September on ScreamLite Records. Get your copy here.

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