Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Lime Garden deliver a cutting commentary with their new single ‘Nepotism (baby)’

Sitting in the Goldilocks zone at the convergence of alternative and catchy, Brighton four-piece Lime Garden are one of those bands it is all too easy to be excited about.

Stretching (and defying) the definition of indie rock, they have been blending classic guitar band sounds with a deep-running vein of grunge, an inkling of punk and just a little bit of pop. They are one of those bands who can confidently pick up something simple and run with it until they make it interesting. And it comes across clearly that they always have fun with what they do, both in their energetic live shows and in their studio productions, which have a lighthearted mood to them.

Their music hints to the listener: don’t take this too seriously, because we ourselves do not. There is a freshness to this that is a big asset to Lime Garden, one of the things that make their work instantly relatable and enjoyable

All of this applies to their latest single, ‘Nepotism (baby)’, a somewhat acerbic almost-pop-ballad that addresses one of the big issues plaguing the arts these days: we all have heard, and partaken of, the discourse about so-called nepo-babies. However, the lyrics here take a different spin on the subject matter, adopting the point of view of someone enjoying the privilege coming from being born in the right position. “That’s what I plan to do/ to have a face like an angel/ with enough money to do whatever the fuck it is they do”, the lyrics announce: it could almost be a manifesto, if not for the hint of bitterness pervading the vocals. If this track has some punk spirit, it is precisely in these lyrics rather than in its sound, which is considerably more mellow than the band’s previous offerings: there is a bite to Chloe Howard’s delivery of the vocals that offers a necessary sharp contrast to the slow pace of the music.

The track itself plays around with the structure of a pop ballad, but grafts different elements onto it. The rough guitars greeting the listener from the very beginning are last-generation grunge, and would not be entirely out of place in some of Incubus’ slower songs. The structure of the song as well as the styling of the vocals are reminiscent of Hole at their best (particularly the instrumental bridge, which is an excellent example of how you don’t have to be loud to deliver a punch). Coupled with the quiet satire of the lyrics, it all reads as on-point commentary on more than one level - and like all good commentary, there is a feeling that it attempts to empathise and understand as much as criticise. The whole package has somewhat of a DIY, garage rock vibe, placing it at some distance from the bouncy pop-rock tinged with post-punk that is Lime Garden’s usual offering.

Lime Garden have never fully fit the indie rock definition, and even here, at their most indie sounding, they still retain a distinctive voice. ‘Nepotism (baby)’ is an oddly reflective track with a soft surface and a hard underbelly, clever in its simplicity, perhaps a better fit for the studio than for the stage. It offers a good occasion for showcasing the band’s range, as well as their ability to be equally as compelling on a less energetic track. 

Chiara Strazzulla


Image: ‘Nepotism (baby)’ Official Single Cover

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