Life is busy. So much so that sometimes I don’t know when I am. Usually it’s just the day, Wednesday may feel like Monday or Thursday; sometimes it’s the season, I’ve caught myself on cooler days wondering if we’re in April or October. Listening to the upcoming album from Berwanger, Watching A Garden Die, due for release June 28, 2019 via Wiretap Records, I almost had to think what decade I was in.
Josh Berwanger (known for his other bands Radar State, The Only Children and The Anniversary) must have raided his parents’, and possibly grandparents’, record collections to find sounds that were so fundamentally 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to combine them into something new that all at once sounds so familiar and comforting while at the same time modern.
The opening track “Long Way Down” is a jaunty song that I can almost picture The Monkees singing on their TV show with Peter Tork and Davy Jones strumming their guitars and swaying their heads as they sang. The song is so catchy it almost dares the listener to not sing along. The happy sounds are a contrast to the darker lyrics.
“Bad Vibrations,” the first single from the album, has an 80’s vibe with the strong danceable beat. Josh says, “On this new record, I often use the word ‘you,’ but I’m actually referring to “me”. In other words, I’m talking to myself. This song is about my social anxieties because I usually feel awkward in public. Which makes me think I sometimes give off bad vibrations when most likely I’m just spaced out, off on another planet. Or maybe a better example is how Garth feels when Wayne ditches him on set in Wayne’s World.”
“Friday Night” sounds like it could have been a track on Joe Jackson’s classic album Look Sharp, while the harmonies on “New Guitar” could easily be something written by James Taylor or Carole King.
One of my favorite tracks on the album, “When I Was Young” opens with an Eric Clapton-esque guitar riff that reminds me of “Wonderful Tonight.” I can relate to the lyrics of remembering how things seemed so different and were so much simpler when I was growing up compared to now.
I found myself singing along (much to the chagrin of anyone within earshot as I can’t sing) to many of the songs with their catchy lyrics and fun guitar. The timing of the release is perfect as I would not be surprised to hear some of the songs from the album being sung around camp fires over the summer. Watching A Garden Die will be released via Wiretap Records on June 28. Check out their website for a couple really cool looking limited edition vinyls, here.