Pastoral pleasures

4 11 2006

Music front cover

From Gardens Where We Feel Secure
Virginia Astley
5 out of 5 stars

From Gardens Where We Feel Secure – by Virginia Astley 1983

I remember reading an NME review of this upon its release – it sounded so bizarre I felt I just had to get it. I suppose it qualifies as a ‘concept’ album but it is such an extraordinarily ordinary and yet brilliantly executed notion that the term seems inappropriate.

The title and a couple of the tracks – ‘With my eyes wide open I’m dreaming’, ‘Hiding in the Ha Ha’, ‘Too Bright for Peacocks’ – hint at the experience. Essentially you get wonderful floaty piano backed with sheep, church bells, a swing, gates, cows (I think), more sheep and lots of birds. You can almost hear the vicar on his bike and smell the flowers in the meadow. It is totally evocative of summer’s day in an English country village: light, airy, spacious and dreamy. A wonderful, ethereal, pastoral idyll.


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