Snow Ghosts ‘Secret Garden’

Click Image to Enlarge

Title: Secret Garden
Reviewed by:

The sounds of woodland nymphs floating on the breeze of a misty morning somewhere near Middle Earth, anyone? Well, OK, perhaps the second single from the acclaimed debut album by Snow Ghosts doesn’t sound exactly like that- they are, after all, singing in audible English- but nevertheless there’s some kind of ancient mysticism going on here. And we’re more than OK with that.

Thankfully, the addition of some tasty remixes means that here at Plain & Simple we could legitimately provide a review. As an electronic site the original version of Secret Garden might be pushing our remit, given it sounds more like alt-folk outfits such as Smoke Fairies and The Horn The Hunt, or the bizarre dark rock fantasies of Peru, Like The Country (another band that made it onto our review pages thanks to a few wonderful reworkings). Which isn’t to say we don’t enjoy every second of the track.

In truth though the re-rubs are more up our street, so to speak. So whilst Richard Skelton keeps things relatively traditional up against the source material, Matthew Herbert, a guy who doesn’t know what traditional means anymore, goes on a very different root. Jerky, lunging, loosely four four beats help spur on jazz-inflected rhythms, creating an instantly addictive broken groove, with ethereality replaced by a kind of live funk ethic, albeit those entrancing female vocalist still sings out to lure us in, on the offbeat.

Weird, but truly innovative, it’s not the kind of work you’ll forget in a hurry. Nor is the B-side Covenant, a savage, minimalist broken beat number featuring the aggressive lyricism of Dhalia Black on the rapped verses and eerie, echoed choruses, coming out somewhere between Black Strobe, grime and Portishead. Amazingly, after hearing what that combination actually sounds like, we’re perfectly happy to stay there too. Stand out efforts on all parts, it bodes well for an outfit already heralded as the next big thing, and has us very excited about what fabric’s Houndstooth imprint will offer us in the next few months.