Born eight minutes apart, twin brothers Fletcher and Wyatt Shears have been pretty much inseparable since birth. It was this innate companionship that first led to a band named The Identical Heads which since then evolved into what we now know as The Garden.
The Garden is a band that pretty much escapes all genres, though conceptual punk is where it’s at, if it needed to be somewhere. But The Garden are so much more than that. They are special in a way unlike any other, for it is not so much that they create undefinable music, but that this music comes as an aural extension of a whole made-up universe, a personal philosophy and genre called Vada-Vada. Everything the brothers create comes out of the Vada-Vada, sometimes this simply means “a creature in own its habitat doing its own thing” while at others it has been defined as “an idea that represents pure creative expression, (something) that disregards all previously made genres and ideals”.
Vada-Vada was born out of a childhood obsession with
Alvin Schwartz’s cult storybook Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and the horrific and controversial illustrations by Stephen Gammell that accompany it. And so it is that narrative becomes a large part of the brothers’ creative process, forming images and characters to occupy their strange fabricated reality. There is Aunt J, Eight Foot Tall Man, Paperclip and The Face. While this visual process might evade some people’s understanding, it is from this curious conceptualism that The Garden’s music thrives.
The music is dirty, raw and unstable, a frantic concoction of bass and drums that is forever evolving, abrupt, depraved and seductive. But these qualities along with the strange nuances of the Vada-Vada aren’t lost on everyone, for following the release of their new album Haha on October 10th with Epitaph/Burger Records the band will set out on a world tour. For The Garden’s live shows have become acclaimed for being furiously urgent and experimental. They avoid explanation as they draw their Vada-Vada universe closer and closer.
The video for All Smiles Over Here, the first track to be released from the new album offers a different and more sedate experience of this fantasy universe. Orange County becomes a hallucinogenic and slightly sinister playground for a drum beat that won’t quit and vocals of angry authority. Of the other tracks already released Egg stands out, for while Haha brings to mind Warmduscher’s debut Salamander, Egg takes us somewhere else entirely. It is less furious, more contemplative and without that distracting electronic quality, in other words it is more real.
The Garden live in a world apart. They make their own and live how they like, their philosophy being something beautiful – “I don’t know why you would force yourself to grow up”.
by Poppy Frean, 18 (google her!)