It’s early May and there’s a kind of hyper energy swirling around Brighton. The cafes in the back streets are even busier than usual, and an unusual abundance of thin white men in caps roam the cobbled streets. Of course, it’s all in the name of the annual festival celebrating new music: The Great Escape. Industry patrons traveled everywhere to attend and take part in a myriad of shows throughout the four-day weekend.
Everything, that is to say, except lime garden. One of the freshest names in new music, Lime Garden hails from Brighton and is therefore already at the center of the action. At the start of the festival, Clash encountered Lime Garden wandering in the sun, and after being cooped up in a noisy roadside pub garden, the band laughed at the chaos to come from the weekend. “There’s all these people who have come to Brighton and they’re all stressed out about having an AirBNB and stuff, and I live here!” drummer, jokes Annabel. “I have about five band members staying on my living room floor a minute, so it’s fun,” lead singer Chloe added.
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Along with hosting the weekend, Lime Garden ended up playing three sets, each with great reception. This included a performance on one of the festival’s biggest stages – The Amazon New Music Stage – where the band’s bubbly personalities were concentrated in a bustling backdrop to captivate their large audience.
With such a big weekend ahead of us, it’s no wonder the group is overexcited, cursing the overlapping queues and the interruptions of street noise. They seem to exist on a continuum, finishing each other’s sentences and jostling over the little mic we pass between hands not clutching a pint. It wasn’t much past noon, but when in Brighton…
Lime Garden often feels like a product of their seaside home; their music is full of character and flavor and sometimes eccentric. Citing influences such as (but not limited to) pop, 70s psychedelia, indie rock, goth, 80s disco, emo skinny jeans and disco, Lime Garden rubs shoulders with the periphery of genres as Brighton bands often do.
But the group does not agree at all; despite its strong music scene, the quartet say making music in Brighton hasn’t permanently shaped their musical sound. “I think we’d do the same anywhere,” Annabel agrees, “but it certainly helped us in terms of hospitality.” “Brighton’s music community is pretty good at first,” continues the lead guitarist. Leila.
The seaside town is certainly renowned for its welcoming atmosphere, providing warm bases for a host of familiar alternative favorites coming out of Brighton, including Black Honey, Dream Wife and The Magic Gang. This welcoming start seems to have translated into Lime Garden’s outspoken demeanor, as the band appear just as likeable onstage as they are backstage.
Lime Garden’s sonic aesthetic complements their personality, built “through many, many years of shit,” Chloe laughs. “We started the band very, very young. And we spent the first two years figuring out what we wanted to do and how we wanted to sound.”
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Lime Garden’s sound can only be described as an emo version of alt-pop, with a Lo-fi influence and a bit of a bounce. “We actually have this kind of…idea as a band, that everything is pretty emo. People try to pretend it’s not, but it is,” Annabel confesses. “It’s like happy, sad and melancholy vibes.” “But we like the rebound, all the same,” agrees Leila.
Darkness seeps into their discography, most notably in their latest single “Marbles”. The absolute definition of an earworm, ‘Marbles’ is on the more pop side of Lime Garden’s discography. Written at the start of the pandemic, the song was inspired, quite simply, by the confinement which caused everyone to go around in circles. “I think I lost my marbles / I can feel them falling out of the bag,” the chorus sings among the jangly guitar. The track resembles the point where Fickle Friends meets The Japanese House.
“It took a while for our influences to distill,” says Annabel, “If you could see a Venn diagram, it was like four circles quite far apart and now there’s this sweet spot in the middle that we all share .till it disappears on shutdown [the chart], and then the song doesn’t work. It doesn’t all come instantly, says Chloe. “No more hair metal. The constant struggle.”
A shared influence within the band is emo legend and Paramore member Hayley Williams. Nothing short of a dream come true, Williams is also a fan of the band: “Our latest claim to fame is Hayley Williams said on the radio the other day that we were her new favorite band. On a BBC One show. We literally screamed,” enthuses Leïla. “Shout Hayley, girl. I love what you’re doing,” Annabel beams, grabbing the mic excitedly.
Whether it’s discussing the daily life of Hayley Williams, promoting bassist Tippy’s deep knowledge of trivia, or reminiscing about the drunken days of yore, Lime Garden is brimming with personality and camaraderie. This is particularly evident in their live performances. The quartet’s goal is to create an opening that allows emotions to fly freely between them and their audience – all in the name of entertainment. “We want to make people cry, but then they dance at the same time, then they’re okay and they’re happy at the end,” Chloe explains. “A bit like cathartic therapy. This is what we offer…to the world.
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Words: Gem Stokes
Photo credit: Julia Nala
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