Brighton’s Lime Garden have been the subject of a reliable murmur of buzz for some time now.
Releasing music together since 2020, the quartet have worked their way through the upstart bingo card and, having gathered sizeable support slots, festival sets and routine rotation at BBC 6 Music courtesy of a host of increasingly interesting singles, 2024 brings about the band’s fabulously fun debut, One More Thing.
Right off the bat, ‘Love Song’ is a spectacular opener. There is an aura of Comedown Machine-era Strokes about the whole affair, as bouncy guitars are complemented by swirling electronic components. A bonafide floor filler, the springy charm of early Pip Blom juxtaposes with vocalist Chloe Howard’s almost Morrissey-esque lovesickness. It makes for a delicious irony, as the scratchy guitar and relentless drums inspire you to move whilst the lyrics are positively drenched in melancholy.
The melancholic themes continue at pace, and this time the instrumentation on ‘Mother’ makes for a more apt pairing as Howard wishes she could “take back my words” over a series of cutting riffs from guitarist Leila Deeley. The track clocks in at a little under three minutes and, before there is enough time to digest the sheer quality of what you’re hearing, Lime Garden launch straight into ‘Nepotism (baby)’, leaning towards the rockier end of the scale.
Lime Garden are relentless in their pursuit of jangly riffs and buoyant drums to fabulous effect: the whole record is a shot of adrenaline and, intentionally or otherwise, wherever you find yourself listening becomes an impromptu dancefloor.
‘Pop Star’ is yet another great number. “I don’t wanna work my job, ‘cause life is short and this is long”…”Life is fleeting and I’m a pop star” quite succinctly sums up the stark reality of up-and-coming bands. Like many of their contemporaries, Lime Garden work “normal” jobs alongside fanning their pop star ambitions, and it’s blindingly obvious that the words here come direct from the soul. intoxicating synthy wobbles and excellently sparing use of vocoder on Howard’s voice make for a standout track. It’s an easily overused bit of kit, but – when sprinkled with a light touch – it makes for a superb studio flourish.
The double play of ‘Pine’ and ‘I Want to Be You’ is the heart of One More Thing. The former takes the band into soulful melancholy again, this time with gorgeous addition of piano, acoustic guitar, and brushes on the drums which gives the number an intimate “unplugged” feeling. The track fades to just strings, drums and keys before we launch headlong into ‘I Want To Be You’: an infectious single which could have travelled directly from the golden era of FIFA soundtracks.
As a genre, you would be forgiven for thinking indie pop had a rather defined ceiling – there’s only so much you can do with it, right? Lime Garden have obliterated any preconceived notions of what you can expect from an indie pop record. It’s muscular and groovy in parts (see the brilliantly moody ‘Fears’), but unashamedly lighthearted and fun-loving in others. They’re raw and emotional at times, but uncompromisingly upbeat elsewhere: Lime Garden have set a high water mark for the genre in 2024.
More vocoder action on ‘Floor’ precedes the soaring ‘It’, whilst the heart-wrenching ‘Looking’ leaves you cranking the volume, laying on the floor and contemplating every single mistake you’ve ever made. Ending on an unresolved chord, Lime Garden deprive the listener of closure for the emotional heft they’ve laid out here. It’s nothing short of superb.
A record of sonic and emotional contrasts, fraught and heartfelt at times, while relentlessly upbeat when the mood strikes: One More Thing is quite something.
featured image: Jono White