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Our Broken Garden Golden Sea Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Reconnects with and rejuvenates a classic strand of the 80s revival.

Mark Beaumont 2010

So many years after This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins and Slowdive, it’s reassuring to know there’s still currency in the lilting female voice cooing sweet nothings over the sound of a misty churchyard. For just such a record is Golden Sea, the second solo album from former Efterklang pianist Anna Broensted, Denmark’s answer to Hope Sandoval at a Viking sea burial.

Golden Sea is one of those records that sends reviewers scurrying to the thesaurus in the hope that new words have been added since 1992 under ‘ethereal’. Military drums thud as if honouring the fallen somewhere across a desolate lake. Keyboards hum, making that unearthly sound that hovers ominously between chords. And above it all wafts Anna, aimless but beatific, a little bit Enya, chasing her melodies like butterflies across cornfields and singing about… well, it’s virtually impossible to tell, but probably love, death, moonlight and longboats. It’s not really important, since this is essentially just a record for goths to have sex to.

And as goth-shag albums go, it’s a corker. In the Lowlands drifts along as mournful and glorious as the autumnscape it describes. The Fiery and Loud, while neither fiery nor particularly loud, itches with the taut viola tension of Eleanor Rigby or costume drama stalking scenes. Garden Grow even manages to swerve into 70s glam, with its glitter stomp and synthesised handclaps, although Broensted’s brooding tones and strings make the whole thing sound more like a Wicker Man copper-burning ceremony than a stack-heeled disco romp.

Most crucially, though, Golden Sea reconnects with and rejuvenates a classic strand of the 80s revival as yet untouched – the point, epitomised by This Mortal Coil, where the classical met the cinematic, right on the poppiest edge of goth. The reference doesn’t get more blatant than on The Burial, where Broensted employs the cheesiest, most 80s drum machine paradiddle known to man, possibly as a knowing nod to In the Air Tonight. Unfortunately, this gives the project an over-familiar air and the album’s relentless lo-tempo can drag at times. But for lighting a candelabra, lying back and thinking of Satan, few soundtracks could be better.

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