Momentum is the word. It’s attractive and positive and those Garden Party lads have it in spades. Their third single Better (Than You) just builds up the heat, flashes a bit of the sheer power in their engine and gives the feeling they are firmly tracking something seriously special. When you also appreciate how approachable, open and natural this young band are, and just how much they want this, then it’s the real deal.
The sound of Better (Than You) is serious Manchester, although the band are based there now, they actually originate from Wigan, Darlo, the mighty Huddersfield and Leicester. It must be something they put in the local kebabs.
Thankfully with the fresh melodic Garden Party, it’s 100% not ‘Manchester’ in that slightly stale predictable way you sometimes hear 25 years on, that makes you kind of almost wish you lived in a parallel universe where the Gallagher brothers are mindlessly depressed and working in some tool factory in the Manchester suburbs. I’m naming no names of bands where that thought crosses my mind.
No, Garden Party have simply built well on those solid musical foundations and produced something that I think all those 90’s Manchester fathers would be proud of parenting, and most importantly Better (Than You) has something that feels vital for today.
I think the solid lead vocals of Liam Horrocks often have a touch of the sad and world weary, and so the theme of the song plays to his powers. It’s about how one in a relationship is blissful and is perhaps not immediately noticing how the other is slowly falling out of love, and then reflecting upon having put their all into the partnership.
Meanwhile the music hits that deft sweet spot between strong and lush. Better (Than You) is not too full on but neither targeted solely for the indie boys and girls. It’s just a buzzing sound where the guitars scream in the right places and the drums power the song onwards. Garden Party know how to party whatever the place or the company. Fans of Catfish, the Verve and Oasis will find something to latch onto here.
For the first time in an age in a review, I’m daring to hope that we might see a little bit of live music at some point this year. The prospect of seeing Garden Party live is worth the punt of adding them to my stash of delayed gigs that I’ve bought into. They still have tickets for 3 gigs at Birmingham Sunflower Lounge on 17 September, Manchester’s Off The Square on 18 September, and Newcastle Think Tank on the 23rd. At present they are also scheduled to play with the Jack Fletcher Band at the wonderful Aatma in Manchester on 2nd April. Get out there and smell the flowers; there’s a Garden Party coming.
Images taken from the band’s social media. I spot the skill of Jac Armstrong here.