Label: Bella Union Release date: 18/10/10 Link: Official Site Danish band Our Broken Garden’s new release Golden Sea invokes many emotions in the listener. Melancholy, despair, fear even – but the most surprising and actually most poignant state of mind that this record leaves you in is that of déjà vu. And that is because Our Broken Garden have released an album that sounds so much like Bat For Lashes, this particularly writer had to double check that Natasha Khan et al were not involved in any way. The breath-y, Bjork-esque vocals, sinister drumbeat and mystical, ethereal vibe are pretty much exactly the same as the general formation of Bat For Lashes songs, and this puts the band at a disadvantage from the very start. The problem then becomes, not only do this band have to release a decent album on their own merits but the inevitable comparisons to the success story that is Bat For Lashes means they have the Brighton-based group to compete with as well. This becomes more of a problem when you consider the fact that this isn’t a particularly inventive release in the first place. The band do have a very interesting sounds – Golden Sea is airy, sombre and atmospheric – and vocalist Anna Bronsted does give the band an extra dimension, as her voice soars above the rest of the instruments and gives the album depth and texture. The use of hooves running away at the end of ‘Seven Wild Horses’ is a nice touch as well and definitely adds a sinister element to Golden Sea. There are some good tracks as well, with ‘Garden Grow’ a particular highlight, being a fresh and welcome break from the dark tone of the rest of the album with its pounding bassline and epic, positive chorus. ‘Share’ also displays a sense of rhythm which almost borders on funky, demonstrating clearly that the band can vary their sound. However, here lies the source of the problem for Our Broken Garden. It is incredibly frustrating to know this band have the armoury to alter and vary their sound but yet produced an album over which at least seven tracks sound more or less exactly the same. This isn’t an exaggeration either; it is very hard to distinguish between tracks, no matter how many times you listen to Golden Sea. Yes, there is some variation – ‘The Fiery and Loud’ for example has a jerky violin part that soars above the rest – but generally that is about as much of a distinction as it is possible to make for a lot of this release. Such a shame really, this could have been something spectacular. Photobucket