Monday, 9 November 2020

ALBUM NEWS: Tender Central - 'The Garden'

A hectic week last week for various reasons meant that the blog's submissions got away from me a little... PR folk, I'll work through them soon, promise (hooray for a week off work!) Though it had been sat in my inbox for a couple of days, finding this track belatedly on my Release Radar playlist on Friday morning was a lovely surprise. Tender Central, AKA India Bourne, long-term friend and bandmate of Ben Howard, has released a stirring duo with Matthew Hegarty (of Matthew and The Atlas), entitled Ashes. The single arrives alongside the announcement of her record The Garden, due for release via Hello Friendly Recordings on 22nd January and made alongside producer Jakwob

I'm a little surprised to realise that this is her debut album. It's certainly long-awaited. A classically trained cellist, her ear for arrangement is brought to the fore in the record, with electronica and folk blending to create something that feels refreshingly modern. Having spent a lot of time on the road with Ben over the last... decade, almost? (blimey!) the notion of 'home' is a bit of a blurry concept for India, and this translates into the themes of the record. Belonging and feeling unsettled sit alongside things such as womanhood, family crisis, and learning to love and accept ourselves.

Talking about this, she describes that "underneath all of it I see my journey from anxiety to peace, from hardship to kindness and compassion, from discomfort to understanding and resting in the unknown". The title (and title track) come from the peace found whilst digging outside her old London flat - "digging in the earth is where I find immense peace and stability. It grounds me. It was a revelation in a time I felt so lost. I found peace in the outdoors and I finally slowed down to appreciate it all. In that space I was also able to realise that peace is always there but that it's 'hard to learn', it requires practice and time. A life's work perhaps." 

The new single is somewhat based on a quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes' book Women Who Run With The Wolves, which reads:

deep in the wintry parts of our minds, we know that there is no such things as a work-free transformation. We know that we will have to burn to the ground in one way or another, and then sit right in the ashes of who we once thought we were and go on from there. 

Talking about finding the quote, India explains "I was experiencing big change in my life during the time of writing and life felt unsettling. Often in these times I want to control everything and make sure that any step forward is done 'perfectly' but I know really, that perfection doesn't exist. I realised by letting go of who we feel we 'should' be rather than who we are, is a much better way of living and allows for more space, creativity and joy to come in."  

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