‘HORSESH*T ON ROUTE 66’ proves punk isn’t dead

The Garden revitalizes art punk scene

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Ena Mekic

The identical twins have done it again. Wyatt and Fletcher Shears, the bass and drums duo from Orange County, California are at the top of the SoCal art punk scene. They have been producing experimental music since 2011 under the name “The Garden,” and have been disregarding mainstream success since the beginning. They express themselves unapologetically through their music, creating a clash of punk sounds. From playing shows in their hometown to performing in underground venues around the world, the brothers deliver to their fans with their newest album, “HORSESH*T ON ROUTE 66.”

Following their 2020 album “Kiss My Super Bowl Ring,” The Garden returns with a new and more mature sound. Their 2020 album featured catchy hits like “AMPM Truck,” “Hit Eject,” and “Sneaky Devil,” all of which included vast sampling that created a sinister and ominous atmosphere. The albums have similar feelings in the spooky, Halloween inspired themes but vary in the singing styles and in the use of bass and drums. 

The album’s single “Freight Yard,” released in May, left fans craving more of the intense dirt-grunge sound the song features. And finally, on September 8 the new album was released. From fast paced, aggressive basslines to hardcore digital synthesizers, the album offers an erratic listening experience. 

“Puerta de Limosina” and “OC93” open with metallic edged basslines and boom with speedy drums. Sampling continues to be used on this album, where sounds of goblins, spooky laughter and haunting vocals are heard in the background of songs like “At the Campfire” and “Haunted House on Zillow.” 

“X In the Dirt” starts off with a catchy upbeat chorus, and hints back to the classic sound of The Garden. But there’s not a moment of normalcy on the album, clearly seen by songs “Orange County Punk Rock Legend” and “What Could I Be But A Jester?” 

Although the album is less than half an hour, I loved it. It matured from their old sound, but kept the flair that the band will always have. Expression without boundaries is what creates their off-the-wall explosive sound. They don’t shy away from being rough or appealing to a certain crowd. I liked the heavier sound from this album and hope to hear more of it in the future. Listeners of Minor Threat, Memo Boy, Death Grips and Black Flag will enjoy this album. 

The twins are notorious for having intense and energetic performances at their shows. They start their tour this fall, and are playing at First Avenue in Minneapolis Nov. 19. Machine Girl, the digital hardcore group, is opening for them.

Overall, this is another great album from The Garden, and I can’t wait to see them live.

“HORSESH*T ON ROUTE 66”: ★★★★★