Middlesbrough-born Scott Lloyd has been a fixture in the Manchester music scene since his move to the city six years ago, since which time he has released five EPs of solid English pop tunes to an ever-increasing fan-base.

In The Garden, his sixth release, sees him add more muscle to his sound with a full band, which elevates his expert song-craft and brings moments of sheer beauty across the EP’s five tracks.

Kicking off with the title track, a spiky intro gives way to a beautifully breezy ode to more innocent times, a theme recalled throughout the EP.

Despite his north-east roots, Lloyd’s delivery is not unlike The Coral’s James Skelly, and the effortless pop sensibility brings to mind a purple-patch-era Ian Broudie, suggesting that the birthplace of The Beatles looms heavy on his list of influences.

This is no retread, however, as the perfectly-crafted songs here suggest a musical maturity that draws on the best of Americana, folk and indie to create something that bristles with melody and verve at every turn.

Highlight Wild Flower – which uses the garden imagery as a metaphor for head space à la Paul Weller’s Brand New Start – twists and turns in some unexpected directions but hangs together perfectly, effortlessly flowing to its conclusion with not a second wasted and having offered some joyous musical moments.

This is the story of In The Garden as a whole, an EP which instantly charms with its classic songwriting and reveals hidden depths on repeated listens.

Self-released record.

Tom Welsh

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