FORGOTTEN GARDEN - JESSICA
(single July 2021)
I'd heard there was a secret chord; that David had played it, and that it had pleased the Lord…
And then one day, I actually heard it.
That mythical combination of musical notes! That chord of Kings!
I'd found it spliced between Emaj and Fmaj, and underpinning the impossibly evocative, Laurel Canyon Hippy Chic voice of germanic American folk singer Sibylle Baier.
... such a long time ago.
But now, I've chanced upon the hallowed and holy thing once again!
I became as the Galahad, who’d gotten his grail,
the Ahab who defeated the whale,
I am the gambler with six numbers…
and... the bonus ball.
It's in this song JESSICA,
by Scottish band FORGOTTEN GARDEN,
A seductively spare mix of wistful fragile folkiness; sung in an unforgettable voice that all but slips away into angelic evanescence like the silence at the end of the world,
leaving you (as foretold in its lyric) "Gazing into the empty eyes of your God."
It's a story about surviving domestic abuse.
There's a weary resignation in its examination of the protagonist's exit from her abusive relationship.
Imagine the intimate detachment of some slightly reticent inquisition; a black and hooded chord hangs in the midst of an intense calm, there's a wretched ghost in the wind.
The devastatingly gorgeous vocal by Inês Dias Rebelo elevates the thing, almost to the point that you might all too easily forget what it's about.
It could be about the sky, or the sun, or the second coming, but it couldn’t be any more heavenly.
It's languid, liquid, dreamy; organic, honeyed, ethereal.
Listening to it unearthed a memory;
of something loved, almost lost, almost buried beneath a giant mountain of malady.
Somehow, I had settled upon the waywardly romantic notion that the voices of Sybille Baier and Inês Dias Rebelo had conspired together to steal my soul - and that they had done so at the precise moment of singing their words over that very same secret and sacred chord.
But, chords and voices aside, the song's alive with arrangement and instrumentation too. There's a persuasive pulse to it, a gentle drive compelling things forward. A carefully considered synth line binds everything together, with its wobbly leslie-like half-doppler discourse telling you exactly what it is that you are feeling.
It's the poignant melancholy, the haunting grief, the oppressively uplifting sadness!
A rare and affecting experience!
I'm about to change tack now though…
Does anyone remember listening to popular music, back when it was all about love and affection, crushes and breakups, sex and the Stones getting no satisfaction?
I only ask because these days, the business of being audibly entertained sometimes seems more like having to work your way through a modern cookery book - there's such a mind-blowing mish-mash of exotic ingredients;
pomegranates and pineapples, gender issues and injustice, inequality and exploitation... and never so much as a 'loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah'
Although, someone slightly more sophisticated than I, might well contend that this is just pop pushing its boundaries, expanding its horizons, and … err holidaying in exotic locations?
But, it is what it is... and here we are... abusive relationship examined.
Inês Dias Rebelo vs Danny Elliot
I'm frequently inclined to manifest a degree of empathy towards any poor creature in need of comfort.
So, my heart goes out to Danny Elliot; in almost every way the master and commander of Forgotten Garden, but set his name against that of his bandmate... and err... we'd better hand him a tissue.
It's like a cosmological arm-wrestling contest between poor Pluto, that dour diminutive dwarf planet, and Sagittarius A Star, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy.
Inês Dias Rebelo - what a name!
Inês Dias Rebelo, I can’t even say it without bursting into song...
Macbeth murdered King Duncan at Inverness Castle. That really happened, it’s not just a story made up by Shakespeare.
Inverness! Capital of the Highlands and the UK's most northerly city. Most people know about Loch Ness, and the monster, and possibly a bit about the Battle of Culloden too.
But, unlike you, most people won't know that Forgotten Garden come from Inverness, even though Inês Dias Rebelo, oh my gosh that name again, is originally from Portugal.
The band is basically Danny and Inês, who are aided by occasional sleep-overs from other musicians; drums on this track were iterated by Joe Ituano - these names really are superb aren't they?
Poor old Danny.
They're currently releasing with Screamlight Records, having been snapped up following submission of demo tracks and subsequent discussions regarding a mutual love of post-punk bands like The Cure, Joy Division, and The Smiths.
Forgotten Garden social links below