[Album Review] ‘The Great Divide’ by Mark Gardner

Genre: Indie/Country
Released: August 29, 2010

Hailing from Melbourne in Victoria, Mark is a well seasoned artist with skills in performing, singing , writing and is a multi instrumentalist. He has collaborated with influential Australian artists and bands such as Swannee and Keith Potger (The Seekers) and the late Chris Wilson of Paul Kelly and The Coloured Girls fame.

‘The Great Divide’ is Marks debut EP and it was received well on release particularly within the community radio sector in Australia. The self titled track from the album reached number one status in May 2010 on the AIRIT/AMRAP charts.

On his Bandcamp profile ( https://markgardnerofficial.bandcamp.com ) Mark gives an overview of the theme of this EP – This album is about the Environment,Social change,Landscapes of Australia and the unique freedoms we live in today.

On listening to the tracks the reflection on  true Australian landscapes and pride are evident through the vocal tones and lyrical contexts. If you liked bands such as Redgum and artists like Paul Kelly then you may well find that this EP appeals to your tastes.

‘Take Me Home’ explores country rock and has a really catchy chorus to boot. It’s a great opening track and comes complete with some really impressive guitar riffs for those of you who own air guitars and want to rock out!

‘Hearts On Fire’ is a little more laid back in it’s approach and oozes country vocally. It’s a little ditty about  believing in yourself and achieving your goals in life. Instrumentally I found this track to stay on one plane with only a few crescendo moments but it didn’t detract from my singing along.

‘The Great Divide’ – This is definitively the focus track on this EP. The composition instrumentally includes the use of harmonica and didgeridoo as traditional compliments to modern sounds. There is an audible lift in Mark’s approach to this song vocally and the pride can be felt and in fact transferred to the listener through it’s delivery. Although this track is essentially about our government not being able to agree on environmental and heritage issues, through the combination of the aforementioned elements it’s easy to close your eyes and see our continent, it’s landscapes and culture.

There are three more tracks available on this EP:- The House of Love’, Rain on My Parade’ and ‘Mark Gardner VS Sgt Trouser – EBONY STREET’ the latter being a free download. I’ve decided not to tell you my thoughts on these as I think it’s a valuable experience for you to explore them on your own.

I enjoyed listening to this EP as it gave me a break from the modern commercial radio type genres and stripped back some of their complexities and noise to just simple and relatable contexts and vocals. I guess in a sense that would sit it in my ‘Easy Listening’ folder which I usually delve into on a Sunday but that’s only me – you may well have a different view!

The bonus to be enjoyed on this release is that on Bandcamp all the lyrics are included with the individual tracks and there can be no misconstruing of verses or phrases…so sing loud and proud!

The EP ‘ The Great Divide’ is available on Mark Gardner’s Bandcamp Page :-https://markgardnerofficial.bandcamp.com and on Itunes.

Mark is still very active in the music community and spends his time performing or helping other indie artists with their projects, you can follow him on his Facebook page here –  https://www.facebook.com/MarkGardnerMusic


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