The Garden really don’t give a fuck; they don’t care if you like their new record ‘Kiss My Super Bowl Ring’, aka kiss my ass, and they really don’t care about genres. Their fourth LP is a mind-bending blur of (deep breath) punk, hardcore, drum ‘n’ bass, jungle, noise-rap, post-punk, techno, electronica, IDM, art-rock, folk, psyche and there’s room for some fuckin’ panpipes. There might even be the sound of a unicorn farting but I’m not 100% sure.
When speaking to Spin.com one half of the twin duo, Fletcher Shears openly admitted, him and his brother Wyatt couldn’t give two shits about opinions on their music, which kind of makes this review redundant but hey ho! Fletcher states “we really don’t care what other people think about it, because it’s the music that we want to make. If other people like it, cool. If not, they don’t have to listen to it.” It’s this obnoxious nonchalance that fuels ‘Kiss My Super Bowl Ring’; it’s ever shifting soundscapes pay absolutely no regard to genre or song structure, as most tracks don’t begin and end the same and it’s not uncommon for The Garden’s latest offering to sound like 5 songs being played at once, whilst being pulled apart and squished back together again like a demented Frankenstein’s Monster.
With the record flexing a brattish attitude and a sound that veers heavily on womping bass and fidgeting, spasmodic electronics, the brothers Shear swerve dangerously close to parody territory, with ‘Hit Eject’s murky digital soup tossing up croutons of searing synths and rollicking jungle, twinned with a brattish rap delivery, the posturing (almost) provokes the image of novelty rap trio The Lonely Island. With the twins’ sardonic delivery, when they’re not screeching like banshees, there’s a handful of moments where ‘Kiss My Super Bowl Ring’ goes all hipster angst on its own ass, which some might find difficult to stomach.
If you can sidestep the near forays into parody silliness and hipster-esque attitude, ‘Kiss My Super Bowl Ring’ is a joy, albeit one that’s utterly bonkers. In all honesty, the vision of The Garden is to be applauded, at times yes, the record can sound like a mess but it’s one enjoyable mess. Take ‘Sneaky Devil’ a violent skank through boisterous jungle and hardcore punk’s volatility or ‘AMPM Truck’, where early 2000s dance-punk is channelled via a jerky staccato and a wiry guitar line. ‘The King of Cutting Corners’ bounces with relentless strut, one that’s anchored by what can only be described as robot fart squelches and a penchant for contorted, violent noise.
The LP’s eponymous track manages to sound laidback and urgent at the same time, thanks to a languid guitar line and a rampant drum ‘n’ bass backbone. ‘A Struggle’ is an explosive mix of stop-start hardcore punk and weird, folk-like psyche eccentricities. Then, of course, it goes completely off the scale via pacey punk ‘n’ roll, video game glitches and pockets of celestial ambience. How best to cap off a record by an act that are laissez- faire about what anyone thinks about their music? A song called ‘Please, Fuck Off’ obvs! Channelling their inner Aphex Twin, ‘Kiss My Super Bowl’ comes to a close via a raucous eruption of broken beats and demonic electronics. The Shears even taunt the listener at the song’s climax “congratulations/you made it to the end of the song” as final middle finger to anyone who’s just had their eardrums kicked in by their mental voyage through music’s most anti-social sub-genres.
‘Kiss My Super Bowl Ring’ feels like the musical equivalent of ADHD, with its skittish behaviour and its blink and you’ll miss it regard for music genre. The record is very much a representation of now; you get the impression if it was a person it would get bored really easily, be superglued to Instagram, skateboard a lot and get wasted on the regular. And of course, no shits would be given about what anyone thinks or says.
Words and Thought of Adam Williams
Kiss My Super Bowl Ring by The Garden comes out on March 13, via Epitaph