‘Haha’ by The Garden (Album)
Can an album of dizzying genre-hopping, which defies categorisation, ever work as a coherent statement? Of course it can
California neo-punks, The Garden are twins Wyatt and Fletcher Shears. They represent everything that is supposedly wrong with the modern world: obnoxious, fashionable and scatter-brained to the point of ill-focus. Haha is the sound of a parent’s worst nightmare, impossible to understand and the conclusive evidence that the apocalypse can’t some soon enough. However, if you stick with this record, you’ll realise just how rich this new landscape is – a creative world without boundaries.
It would be impossible to list all the genres The Garden mine over the 17 tracks of Haha, each one a short blast which quickly hands over to the next. From the warped electronica of Jester’s Game to the noir-grunge of the title track, this is the plunder of a cybernaut magpie, grabbing whatever sparkles online. That there are also hints of both new wave on Cells Stay Clean and frantic drum ‘n’ bass on Cloak, suggests nothing avoids their rapacious appetite for sonic collection.
Somehow, against all the odds, it works in glorious fashion. It is like an evening of relentless channel-hopping where you land on one piece of televisual gold after the next, snippets that somehow manage to make sense as a coherent body of work. It may be frightening, it may take a while for your ears to adjust, but boy is it worth it!
Verdict: Relentless, uncategorisable, glorious