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Further Wanderings Amongst a Garden of Earthly Delights: Revisiting 24/26

In the first year of A Year In The Country I wrote the following about The Garden of Earthly Delights by United States of America, whose work I discovered via interviews with Broadcast, who have talked about how the band were a particular inspiration and influence for them:

“[It] is a fine example of pop meeting the avant-garde; it’s a quite simply fantastic, driving, catchy ‘tune’ but at the same time the lyrics seem as though they should be sat in amongst the darkest reaches and etchings of some long-lost particularly dark psych / acid folk record – maybe something that would sit alongside / amongst the work of Comus or some of the songs of Forest… this is a tale of Eden gone particularly rotten, more Venus Fly Traps double plus than English rose arcadia and looking at the lyrics written down, they’re genuinely unsettling, a dream that you would be particularly glad to no longer be amongst but also not so happy to have woken from and left with the residues.”

The Garden of Earthly Delights is the second track on the album and is preceded by Cloud Song. This is a gentle pastoral dream of a song which somewhat lulls the listener almost into a sleep-like state of calm before the appearance of The Garden of Earthly Delights’ more rambunctious pop and their placing on the album next to one another becomes almost a mirror image yin yang double B-side single that never was.

United States of America only released one album and one single before splitting up in the late ’60s but as referred to above the work they created in the brief time they were together contained an intriguing mixture of the avant-garde and exploratory tendencies intertwined with a pop sensibility – the influence and lineage of which can also be found in Broadcast’s work, particularly on their later releases such as Mother is the Milky Way.


The original post published during the first year of A Year In The Country:


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