Let Your Garden Sleep In
(2021 - Zillion Watt Records- Italy)
Possibly the most gentle and romantic you will ever hear Sterbus sound, as this has several strong characteristics of a contrasting honeymoon and breakup album, mixed with both the playful goodness of Gruppo Sportivo and Supersister, a dose of Canterbury delight (check out the first track), and pure Emanuele Sterbini in a more relaxed, reflective, and sentimental frame of mind. I suspect the world as we all know it (except the filthy rich) was the catalyst for such an amorous and pleasing set of compositions, but far more important is the dedication inside the CD "to the Leader of the Starry Skies, Dr Tim Smith" which stands strong as both a deep reason to take note (the all too soon and sad death of Tim Smith of Cardiacs and various fabulous other output) and to listen closely to this special album. Track #7 is titled 'My Friend Tim'. It speaks of Tim giving us another mindset. The mourning shows through, as well as some sincere love for that magical artist (Tim). This is absolutely sensational. Plenty of dimensional genre dancing.
The musicians are: Francesco Grammatico (Cello, Trombone, Trumpet, Organ) / Pablo Tarli (Drums, Tambourine ) / Riccardo Piergiovanni (Piano, Electric Piano, Synth [Square Synth], Organ, Harpsichord, Mellotron) / Brenda Gagarina (Shaker, Tambourine, Gong, Vibraslap, Cowbell) / Dominique D'avanzo (Vocals, Clarinet, Flute) / and master of ceremony Emanuele Sterbini (Vocals, Classical Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Synth, Synth Strings). Additional credits go to Dominique D'avanzo (Lyrics) and music by Emanuele Sterbini. All songs recorded, engineered, mixed, and produced by Giovanna Dominique Damiana D’Avanzo*, Emanuele Sterbini. Finally. mastered by – Francesco Grammatico. Fans will notice a curb of the multi-part harmonies with Emanuele and Dominique which are so wonderful on previous outings, but the more sparse duo is refreshing and affecting. Some string parts are beauteous. Many listens will open up avenues like a burst of rainbow sunlight smiling at each person on the receiving end. Oh this is great! I've never heard Emanuele sound more like an Italian RJ Stips on vocals, but with the spiritual essence of Professor Smith. Some may even catch the air floating trumpet by Al Strachan on the last curt ('Murmerations') which is worth the price of the album by itself. A tearjerker.
Okay so here is where I make my point once again, to all the people who do not buy the physical format, but only download or do a quick sound byte listen to any album. If someone who knows nothing about Tim Smith, or Sterbus, and they simply listen without notes, important info inside the jacket, or even bother to read what is posted on Bandcamp (or other online media site), they will be totally lost and far too critical on an album such as this. Why? Because the music is a bit sad, and minus some (but not all by any means) the urgency often in early Sterbus music, but the real tricky part is the lyrics are deep with clues, poignancy, and are indeed very touching. And once a listener knows the focus here, it all opens up and floods you with significance. It is why I always listen more than once to any recording I am going to review. There is nothing fair about taking a quick audition on a disc,and on any given day, then making a big judgement on it that many others will read. Bottom line is 'Let Your Garden Sleep In' gets better and better with each absorption. A HUGE RECOMMENDATION! (and listing on TOP CHOICES of 2021 at Big Beautiful Noise). STUNNING MOMENTS AND MORE! (Can you stop crying now? If not, it is perfectly understandable).
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 12 - 2022