It’s impossible to expect anything other than chaos from twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears, the duo that makes up punk outfit the Garden. And on its newest release and fourth studio album, Kiss My Super Bowl Ring, the Shears brothers give their fans recognizable yet unique music to bang their heads to. The duo adheres to its much-loved dark, blasé vibe on the album, while also incorporating a much stronger bludgeoning of sound with intense breaks and ample distortion.
The record starts out gloriously angry, drawing influences from hardcore punk. The first few songs feature screaming vocals and fast, brutal drums.
“Clench to Stay Awake,” the first single released from the record, is clearly intended to shake up listeners and deter those who expected another traditional punk song. While the song has a dark, lethargic start, it quickly picks up, segueing into harsh, piercing vocals. It’s an unapologetic, sardonic number that only the Garden could pull off.
“A Struggle” smacks listeners with crazed screaming, dissonant chords and insanely powerful drums. But after the first minute, the hardcore qualities of the song give way to a bumping bassline and the melodic vocals characteristic of the brothers. The way the lyrics “You’re dead wrong” are delivered is enough to send chills up listeners’ spines. About two and a half minutes in, the song’s dynamic switches back to screaming until the end.
The best track on the album is none other than “Sneaky Devil,” an absolute banger of a song. It combines the anxious drums that were found on Mirror Might Steal Your Charm with the signature screaming that the band incorporates throughout the record. But because the rest of the song goes so hard, listeners are bound to be used to the screams by now. The tune also features deep synths and industrial undertones, which make for a satisfying combination. “Sneaky Devil” could easily become the new quintessential Garden song. Listeners can’t help but visualize how intense a mosh pit to this song would be, making them want to get up and headbang no matter where they are at the moment.
“A Fool’s Expedition” is yet another highlight, sporting heavy drums and a chugging guitar. It’s a fundamentally punk song, with lyrics like, “If you could really step outside yourself for one day/ Then maybe you could see your own selfish a– ways.” The delivery has the full force of passion, anger and emotion that rightfully belongs in a punk song.
While it’s unclear why exactly the brothers are referring to an AM-PM truck on this song, “AMPM Truck” is nevertheless a lovely and intense song with an underlying deep bass. It has a brighter tone than the previous songs, but complements them nonetheless. The song also has various dark switch-ups, bringing back the classic whistle that marks many of the Garden’s previous albums.With Kiss My Super Bowl Ring, the Garden proves that it can deliver pure punk goodness, refusing to shy away from emotional complexities or from delivering a watered-down version of the music so many know and love from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. It’s a “no f—- given” kind of album on which every single song is a masterpiece. The simple yet catchy guitars, quick pitter-patter of drums and increase of electronic tones meld together in an angry symphony. Kiss My Super Bowl Ring is the duo’s best album to date, and while it’s competing against the likes of Haha, it surpasses all expectations, making sure listeners are in for a treat.