After his flirtation with (mainly) synthetically created sounds on 'metamatic', John Foxx offered up in 1981 'The Garden', abandoning the starkness and clean lines of moderism for lusher songs inspired by the beauty of nature, romantic overgrown old ruins, Catholicism, the warmer weather of southern Europe, superstition... its complete antithesis. However its not so simple as a break, more a contination of 1979's 'Systems of romance' (recorded when in Ultravox). Not only does it combine conventional instruments and song forms with creative useage of synthesised voice and instrument, it features Robin Simon on guitar and, most cheekily, it contains a song with that very title! There are enough ideas in 'The garden' however to prevent it from becoming repetitive - and if it does stray towards recognisable themes and textures, that is partly my own fault for binge purchasing. Highlights are surely 'Systems of Romance' and 'Night suit' which nudge closer to the jauntiness required for dancing, whilst 'Europe after the rain' is a gorgeous song to open with, its seductive imagery not quite hiding a plaintive air that longs for the warm nights and fountains Foxx sings of to replace the grey sodden cities left behind. And even better, although this is an album of the 1980s there are no saxophones to spoil the atmospheres created, hurrah!