Artist: The Garden
Album: Kiss My Super Bowl Ring
Sub Genre: Vada Vada
Label: Epitaph Records
Non-Airable Tracks: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11
Balance, innovation, oscillation, lyricism, power, and guts. Why waste time hanging out in a muddy middle ground when you could skate between dignified lyricism and absolute insanity? This is a question Wyatt and Fletcher Shears must have asked themselves in the earliest conception of their newest album, “Kiss My Super Bowl Ring.”
This album begins with the first single that was released ahead of the album: “Clench To Stay Awake.” This song begins with singing that feels meticulously droning. But fear not, for this is not the album where The Garden has left behind their aggressive melodies for stripped-back balladry. Once the singing fades out, the song breaks into something much crazier. It builds up into insanity, and breaks back down into a gentle fade out. According to Wyatt, this song is inspired by the fact that they both faint a lot.
Then, “A Struggle” begins with screaming that oscillates between a little melody that gets more and more dissonant each time they scream. Then the song breaks into synths that feel like throbbing sun rays which are underscored by “Call The Dogs Out”-esque guitars. The song also has a spider analogy that is carried from start to finish. The spider is driving a car.
Next comes “Sneaky Devil,” which is my favorite song off the album. The dogs are out, and you can hear them barking. This song is so fast at its core, and it goes so hard. It also has the special kind of screaming where you can understand exactly what they are saying without compromising any emotion. It is full of hard transitions into absolute bars. Basically, this song has everything that I could ever ask for from a song by The Garden, and everything about it is perfect. My favorite thing about this song is its warped, slow beat and super fast drums. How many ways can they sing the line “All these bastard ass fuck goblins shitting on my lawn?” The answer is, there are many, and all of them are great. To top it all off the evil laugh is in this song.
“Kiss My Super Bowl Ring” is sneaky and repetitive. Kiss My Super Bowl Ring sounds like a mantra, and the amount of times the line is repeated means that it really sinks into your head. It oscillates between almost whispery restraint and absolute insanity. It has a pretty, somewhat shredding guitar line and a slightly warped beat. My favorite line from this song is “you acted like a little bitch, kiss my super bowl ring.”
“A Fool’s Expedition” is this album’s diss track. You can hear the spit in his mouth as he screams. This song takes a theme (that many songs by the Garden take) which I call: angry songs that criticize people for being mean. Wyatt and Fletcher save their best insults to be leveraged against those who truly deserve it. The lyricism is top notch and is delivered with a tired, angry energy. This song feels like dried up sweat.
“AMPM Truck” has a really pretty guitar line, and it sounds surf-rocky. Yet, it sounds like they’re pushing through the surf rock elements to create something much bigger. Much like “have a good day sir,” this song is about driving poorly. However, instead of being about speeding, it is about falling asleep at the wheel. Specifically, it is a song about how Wyatt doesn’t want to do that anymore.
“Lurkin” is my second favorite song off of this album. My favorite line from this song is “I see you sucking on nostalgia’s cock, so I sneak in through the back like I forgot how to knock.” This song features Khalif Jones, who, according to the twins, has been a huge influence on their song. This song has something like a distorted trap beat. Also, Khalif’s verse is amazing. I love the way that this song plays with feminine sexuality through the delivery of vocal affectations. Alongside the insane beats and the fancifully crass lyricism, this affectation creates a level of dissonance that makes the song mysterious, even when its playing directly into your ears.
“Hit Eject” is a diss track against society. It has a slow breakdown. It progresses throughout the song until it is so intense. It repeats two messages over and over, both of which I can get behind. Due to the fact that I have already disclosed several lyrical gems from this album, I will leave this one as a surprise. Yet again, here is the oscillation between slow and fast. Why stay muddy? Division is key, and in this song, it sounds particularly great.
“The King of Cutting Corners” has the perfect amount of vocal fry. If this song were a diss track, it would be a self-diss track. The lyrics on their own are fantastic, and are even like a poem. Yet, in delivery, Wyatt and Fletcher oscillate between screaming singing, fried vocals, and bouncy beats. They even duet. There are some pretty insane breakdowns on this album, and towards the end, some wacky distorted demonic sounds. That’s what you get from the king of cutting corners baby!
“Lowrider Slug,” featuring Ariel Pink, is four minutes and twenty seconds long, which makes it longer than most other songs by the Garden. Balance and oscillation is used yet again in this song. One of my favorite elements of this song is that when you hear a certain little guitar line and drum roll, it functions like a warning: they’re getting ready to scream. Also, there are little ad libs in the midst of the screaming. The song fades out with some unsettlingly dissonant drums and quietly screeching guitars. Sometimes, we all need some space. And that is something to be respected.
“Please, Fuck Off” is The Garden’s way of saying goodbye to us, and thank you for listening to the album. Some parts of this song are extremely bass boosted to the point where it sounds crunchy. It oscillates between screaming and slow, swaying lines about impatience with others. The vocal fry returns and there’s a super sick breakdown before they start absolutely losing it. The last line of the song, the album, is “fuck off.”
Overall, this album has been an exciting journey from start to finish. It is laden with familiar elements like dogs barking, warped guitars, and super fast drums. Yet, this album is different from past albums because it is simply so unhinged. The lyrics are off the charts, and each song is a gem in its own rite. Each song is incredibly layered with elements that make it exciting from the start to finish. I guarantee, this will be the most insane 35 minutes of your life. I absolutely cannot wait to hear these songs performed live. I didn’t think that Wyatt and Fletcher could top “Mirror Might Steal Your Charm,” or “You Want The Scoop,” yet, somehow they did. This album is a masterpiece with a picture of garbage on the cover.