Single Review: Mark Gardener – Chained

By Orla Brady

Since their reunion in 2014, alt-rock band RIDE have experienced a second wave of success by releasing two critically acclaimed albums and playing numerous gigs and festivals.

Prior to the reunion, lead vocalist and guitarist Mark Gardener ventured upon a solo career which led to the release of his 2005 album These Beautiful Ghosts and Universal Road, a collaborative album with Robin Guthrie, released in 2015.

The global COVID-19 crisis, and the subsequent lockdown that occurred as a result, has enforced a touring hiatus upon RIDE for several months, however this has not stopped Gardener from releasing yet another outstanding track.

Gardener has teamed up with Stéphan Haeri, otherwise known as 2SQUARE, of the French electronic duo Télépopmusik for his new single Chained. The track was recorded in Haeri’s  Parisian apartment and Gardener has hailed it as “up there with my favourite collaborations ever.”

The track commences with irregular and ominous fragments of sound, which are joined by Gardener’s crystal-clear vocals. Light percussion soon edges in alongside repeating piano chords, which adds depth and rhythm to the song.

2 minutes and 40 seconds into the track, this stream of sound is broken by a striking drum solo, which introduces the next pattern of sound – a jazz-infused reworking of what we heard prior to this solo.

As the track comes to an end, this pattern appears to travel towards a crescendo, however just as it is on the verge, we return to the minimalist sound that was present at the very beginning.

Lyrically, Gardener shares the experience of resisting damaging temptations and distractions. Twice in the track, we hear the lyrics ‘And the Devil is…/High, coming round, coming around, coming down’, which displays a sense of lingering fear and disturbance.

This is reflected in the music, which travels through different levels of depth, volume and intensity, yet consistently maintains a sense of mystery and unease.



Twitter @MarkGardener



Published by orla_brady

I write things about music for The Music Files Blog and isthismusic? Always open to review new bands/artists wherever you're from and whatever you do. I also write articles for The Glasgow Guardian and The Indiependent and dabble in creative fiction writing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: