Get To Know The Band That Created Their Own Genre
The Garden is a band comprised of twin brothers, Wyatt and Fletcher Shears from Orange County, California. The band was created in 2011 and since then, five albums and several EPs have been released. The Life and Times of a Paperclip was The Garden’s first studio album, released in 2013, and most recently they released Mirror Might Steal Your Charm in 2018. The Garden has gone on several tours with other acts such as The Growlers and Mac Demarco, as well as their own headlining tours across both the U.S. and the world. While The Garden is the main musical project for Wyatt and Fletcher, they each have their own individual side projects as well.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what genre The Garden’s music falls under. They made up the term “vada vada” as a new genre to encompass their musical style. There is a lot of metal and punk influence, but the songs pop around so much with sound experimentation and samples that putting a label on it would be restricting. The band is always changing, therefore their own classification of vada vada allows them to not only change the game but create a game entirely of their own.
In 2016, The Garden released the three singles, “Play Your Cards Right,” “Call This # Now,” and “California Here We Go,” with corresponding music videos. The songs themselves are very interesting, but the music videos are even more so. In all of the videos, Wyatt and Fletcher are dressed as jesters acting as different characters.
In “Play Your Cards Right”, they play tennis, “Call This # Now”, they magically appear as businessmen, and in “California Here We Go,” they play baseball. The jester concept became more of a thing in 2016. From then on, it has been a common motif throughout The Garden’s music videos.
The Garden’s music is certainly an acquired taste that is definitely weird at first, but it grows on you. And by the end of the week, you’re jamming as if you’ve known their songs your entire life. A lot of songs are not very cohesive, so beware of sudden tempo/tune/instrument/theme changes. It’s one of the most unique points of The Garden’s music which feels weird, as we are always used to music that sticks to a certain key, traditional instruments, and set time signatures. Essentially, The Garden destroys all of these “common ideas” and it WORKS!
Lyrics are both sung and spoken, adding an interesting layer of depth and perception to what otherwise might seem like just a weird song to listen to. “A Message to Myself” makes a strong case for The Garden’s lyrical talent and also conveys a message about checking your privilege.
“People can’t always have ideal situations/Served on a silver platter/And others have to fight harder/I guess it all depends on how hard you fight/Maybe you’re being punished for your past life/Whatever the case is, I definitely feel for you/Because in the end, everyone has problems/And life tries to teach you something/No matter how many times you’ve lived/So keep in mind that everyone is equal/Nothing you do makes you more human than anyone else.”
The Garden’s songs waver between having a strong theme and sometimes no theme at all. “Vexation” is a song with a pretty dark meaning— the band has confirmed that the song is anti-sexual assault. The lyrics are the thought process of someone trying to get back at an assaulter for the crime(s) that they have committed. In the song “Clay”, the chorus literally goes, “I like cereal/But I ain’t no serial killer/(You can make your bed)/(Did you make your bed)” and the lyricism in “Haha” is overall pretty great, but this part gets repeated several times: “Hip swing/Hip swing/Means nothing if you don’t have thighs/Bend knee/Bend knee/Means nothing if you don’t think twice.” Do I understand it? No, not really. Does that mean I don’t enjoy it? Absolutely not!
The Garden is an interesting musical experience if you are looking for something entirely new to listen to. If the first song you listen to doesn’t exactly feel right, try a few others before entirely dismissing the band as a whole. Each song is its own entity, entirely different from any other.