“It’s Like Cathartic Therapy!” Clash Meets Lime Garden

A Brighton meeting with the hotly-tipped group...

It’s the beginning of May, and there’s a hyper sort of energy swirling around Brighton. Cafés in the lanes are even busier than usual, and an unusual abundance of slim white men in caps traipse the cobbled streets. Of course, it’s all in the name of the annual festival celebrating new music: The Great Escape. Industry patrons have travelled far and wide to witness and partake in a myriad of performances across the four-day-weekender.

All, that is, except Lime Garden. One of the freshest names in new music, Lime Garden are Brighton natives and therefore already smack bang in the centre of the action. At the start of the festival, Clash met Lime Garden wandering around in the sun, and after being corralled to a raucous roadside pub garden, the band chuckled over the weekend’s upcoming chaos. “There are all these people who’ve come to Brighton and they’re all stressing to get an AirBNB and stuff, and I live here!” drummer, Annabel jokes. “I’ve got like five band members staying on my living room floor at the minute, so that’s fun,” adds lead singer, Chloe.

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As well as playing host over the weekend, Lime Garden ended up playing three sets, each to great reception. This included a performance at one of the largest stages of the festival – The Amazon New Music Stage – where the band’s bubbly personalities were concentrated into a lively set to captivate their sizeable audience.

Having such a big weekend ahead, it’s no wonder that the band are excitable, cursing overlapping lineups and street noise interruptions. They seem to exist on a continuum, finishing each others’ sentences and jostling over the tiny mic we passed back and forth between the hands that weren’t clutching a pint. It wasn’t much past midday, but when in Brighton…

Lime Garden often feel like a product of their seaside home; their music is chock full of character and flavour and at times eccentric. Citing influences including (but not limited to) pop, 70’s psychedelia, indie rock, goth, 80’s disco, skinny jeans emo, and disco, Lime Garden coast the outskirts of genres in the way that Brighton bands often do well.

But the band wholeheartedly disagree; despite its strong music scene, the quartet impart that making music in Brighton hasn’t definitively shaped their musical sound. “I think we’d be doing the same thing anywhere,” nods Annabel, “but it’s definitely helped us in terms of being very welcoming.” “Brighton’s music community is quite sweet when you’re first starting,” continues lead guitarist. Leila.

The seaside town is certainly renowned for its accepting atmosphere, providing warm foundations for a whole host of familiar alt favourites coming out of Brighton, including Black Honey, Dream Wife, and The Magic Gang. This welcoming start appears to have translated to Lime Garden’s open demeanour, as the band appear just as personable onstage as offstage.

Lime Garden’s aural aesthetic compliments their personality, built “through many, many years of being shit,” laughs Chloe. “We started the band very, very young. And we spent the first two years kind of 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 take on alt-pop, with Lo-fi influence and a little bit of bounce. “We actually have this sort of… idea as a band, that everything’s just quite emo. People try to pretend that it’s not but it is,” confesses Annabel. “It’s like happy sad melancholy vibes.” “But we like the bounce, still,” agrees Leila.  

Darkness seeps into their discography, not least in their latest single ‘Marbles’. The absolute definition of an earworm, ‘Marbles’ is on the poppier side of Lime Garden’s discography. Written at the beginning of the pandemic, the track was inspired, quite simply, by lockdown driving everyone ‘round the bend. “I think I’ve lost my marbles / I can feel them fall right out of the bag,” croons the chorus amongst jangly guitar. The track feels like the point where Fickle Friends meets The Japanese House.

“It’s taken a while for our influences to distil,” explains Annabel, “If you could see a Venn diagram, it was like four circles that were quite far apart and now there’s that sweet spot in the middle we all share. Until it goes off [the chart], and then the song doesn’t work.” Not everything comes instantly, affirms Chloe. “No more hair metal. The constant struggle.”

One shared influence amongst the group is emo legend and member of Paramore, 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 are her new favourite band. On a BBC One show. We literally screamed,” enthuses Leila. “Shout out Hayley, my gal. I love what you’re doing,” beams Annabel, grabbing the mic enthusiastically.

Whether discussing the daily life of Hayley Williams, hyping up bassist Tippy’s extensive knowledge of trivia, or reminiscing on drunken days of yore, Lime Garden ooze with personality and camaraderie. This is especially highlighted in their live performances. The quartet’s aim is to create an aperture for emotions to fly freely between themselves and their audience – all in the name of entertainment. “We want to make people cry, but then sort of like they’re dancing at the same time and then they’re fine and they’re happy at the end of it,” explains Chloe. “Sort of like cathartic therapy. That’s what we’re offering… to the world.”

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Words: Gem Stokes
Photo Credit: Julia Nala

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