When it comes to bands that are not “in the mainstream”, often for me, the word pretentious comes to mind. Sometimes bands and solo artists try so hard to be “different” that they end up sounding just the same as those they tried to distance themselves from, all while holding the belief that they are better than others and clamoring for the attention of those who refuse to listen to a Top 100 radio station. But not The Garden.
Fraternal twins Fletcher and Wyatt Shears, better known as “The Garden,” are a duo from Orange County, California. Most would describe their music as punk, but they often agree, yet disagree, with that label. They describe their sound, and everything that they are, as “Vada-Vada.” In the short documentary “Twinheads” by Liza Mandelup, Wyatt further elaborates that, “Vada-Vada is our kind of made up universe that we’ve created. Everything we do comes out of Vada-Vada.”
The twins aren’t just known for their music, however.
Their style is often a focus in many-a-interview. Often draped in leather and lace, trench coats, and the occasional red lip and smokey eye worn by Fletcher, they always stand out in a crowd; So much so, that in 2013, they were picked up by designer Hedi Slimane, to walk in the Yves Saint Laurent AW13 menswear show in Paris. The two don’t particularly enjoy focusing on being models for a world renowned fashion giant, but its helped to keep them afloat and be able to put all their time and focus on their music, so they don’t complain.
The two seem to function best together, and seldom are apart, which is unsurprising given that they are twins. They share clothes, music, and of course facial features, but they are firm to state that for as close as they are, they are not identical in their personalities, nor their physical appearances. The strength of their brotherhood is about as unbreakable as their love of hockey, ice hockey to be specific. Roller hockey is the bane of their existence, as they were forced to play roller hockey in high school, due to a lack of, well, ice.
The Garden’s sound is simplistic, yet complex. Wyatt puts out deep tones on bass, while Fletcher generates fast paced rhythm on drums, and some electronic sounds to add unique patterns and effects to their sets.
Their most recent album was released in March of 2018, titled ‘Mirror Might Steal Your Charm.’ On the cover is a court jester pondering his reflection in a mirror.
Twelve songs in total, you definitely won’t get bored. The lyrics range from intricate, to repetitive. The first song on the album ‘Stallion’ begins with ominous, drawn out bass, but then quickly transitions into wild, adrenaline pumping guitar and drums.
Heading toward the middle of the album, ‘Call The Dogs Out’ sounds of a mix between punk and surf rock. One you’ll want to listen to on repeat for hours.
The final song on the album ‘No Destination,’ is one that will make you want to grab a couple of friends, and blast this through the speakers of your convertible with the top down, assuming you have a convertible, But any vehicle will do.
The Garden Twins carry themselves with confidence and poise, and are the most inspiring, un-pretentious band I’ve come across to date. Wether its their style, their music, or all of the above that pulls you in, you’ll want to come back for more.