A lot of my music these days comes from what could be called museum blogs. They collect types of releases that made sense a while back – Sgt. Pepper imitations, jazz/funk and the like – although a lot of them seem a bit nutty a decade or four down the road.
With a release like this one, it’s tempting to wonder whether it’ll be on a blog in 2050 for indie-classical CDs. For now, though, this music’s time is here. It’s evident in the fact that Clogs are able to call on the all-stars of the movement – Sufjan Stevens, who cameos on the last track, and Shara Worden, who lends her soprano to more than half of the songs. And it’s evident in their confidence in a thoroughly non-rock concept: a set of songs about a horticultural paradise in Italy curated by the wife of Sir William Walton.
This music hits a mood fitting to its topic: quiet, pretty and devoid of urgency. Uncertainty stalks a few tracks (“if this was our last song/what would we do then?,” National vocalist Matt Berninger repeats on one song) and spills over into musical dissonance here and there, most heavily on “Adages of Cleansing.” Otherwise, the music is calm, Renaissance/minimalist fare with vocals alternating between Worden’s classical approach and a set of lower-key male singers.
Like much of the music on those blogs, this disc is the work of people not feeling a need to reach the unconverted. It is a garden unto itself, attractive and isolated.