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Album Review

The Garden – Haha

The Garden - Haha

17 tracks is a mammoth feat – for both band and listener.

Label: Epitaph
Released: 9th October 2015

Rating: ★★★

The Shears twins have always had a disregard for the conventional. Favouring self-satisfaction over structure, the duo’s shambolic clash of electric hooks and garage punk has become infamous – and synonymous with a good time.

If enjoyment were to be measured in the amount of times the ridiculous is made real, then with second album ‘Haha’ The Garden are going for gold. Whether they’re having a laugh or making a statement of true intent, it doesn’t matter. Wyatt and Fletcher Shears are doing exactly what they want to do, and creation this pure is a hard thing to come by.

Album opener ‘All Smiles Over Here :)’ is the duo’s search for instant gratification actualised on record. “This is my life and this is how I choose to live it,” the band resounds forcefully, eerie drones ushering the record into a hauntingly dark lease of life. ‘Crystal Clear’ is as menacing as they come, whilst ‘Devour’ takes a turn for the obscenely volatile.

There are times when the album veers over the edge of ridicule and into sheer nonsense. ‘Everything Has A Face’ is obscene from start to finish, and ‘I Guess We’ll Never Know’ sums up the understanding of numerous tracks in its very title. But coupled with The Garden’s flair for hooking riffs and contagious rhythms, the absurd doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous.

Title-track ‘Haha’ condenses the album’s affinity for the peculiar and the ghoulish nature into a mere two minutes – and it’s entirely addictive. ‘Red Green Yellow’ is another standout track, racing with an intensity that soars melodically as much as it rages.

Embodying their “Vada Vada” philosophy of creative expression and disregard for genres and ideals, The Garden act every bit out of instinct. 17 tracks is a mammoth feat – for both band and listener – but the Shears duo have a way of making each song as addictive as the last. Jessica Goodman