I’m attracted to the meandering feeling of this song–the way it starts as if already in the middle (note: no introduction), and unfolds in an off-kilter way–because underneath I sense a meticulous purpose and drive. Vague and precise is a compelling juxtaposition. Because of the mysterious lyrical phrases, the desultory guitar lines, the stops and starts, and the oddball chords, I’m picking up something of a Steely Dan-ish vibe, by way of the Blue Nile; nothing, in any case, seems to be happening by accident. And when the song finally delivers us to an unabashed–if still eccentric–chorus, I feel as if some sort of salvation is at hand. And yet listen to how the song pulls away from an uncomplicated resolution: when front man James Milsom sings the words “the spider and the fly,” by rights the word “fly” would come accompanied with a clear, satisfying, resolving chord. No such luck, however–we are taken to the brink and then everything scoots out the side door: Milsom dismembers the last line “We are both of these, you and I,” dragging out the word “are,” then offering the last two phrases as a kind of quizzical afterthought.
And when the song is over, it ends. This is entirely refreshing.
Ancient Free Gardeners are a quartet from Melbourne that has only been up and running since 2006. They released their debut EP last year and have put out two singles since; “Innards Out” is the latest, released in May. A full-length CD is expected later this year.