Twelve Gardens' exceptional Feed the Bug unwinds like the plot of a surreal dream.
Twelve Gardens' Feed the Bug is frothy. When I listen to it, I feel it on my tongue like the top of a cappuccino, or all around me like the lace on a crashing wave. The fuzz of the guitar, along with the soft fullness of the vocals, is more texture than sound. It’s an album to feel through, like moving through a dark house at night, or hiding in a closet as a child, running your hand across fleeces and flannels as you wait to be found. Twelve Gardens is one of those bands that any description of their music will inevitably contain words like “dreamy” or “shimmery,” which is, of course, perfectly accurate. Their melodies unwind like the plot of a well, a dream; an evolving organic structure.
Almost half of the album is instrumental tracks, which comes off as rare in the world of DIY pop. I hope it doesn’t detract from the braveness of this choice to say that you’ll probably barely notice, it just feels right. Lyrically, Feed the Bug doesn’t seem to have an underlying message, just a mood that sometimes moves a voice to sing. The lyrics rest heavily on phrasing—in “crowded room,” the creeping melody makes the offhanded lyric “your carelessness makes me want to stay inside my room” sound menacing, even tragic. Other songs, like “everyone I know” and “shimmer,” rely on the glowing fabric of the music to animate their dreamy worlds. My favorite song on Feed the Bug is “hahaha,” whose chorus is just sing-laughing, and verses describe a surreal, cotton-candy world: “I wanna peel this skin off...paint these arms bright pink...angels are dreaming of you / Plants are in your front yard.” It’s childish, weird, scary, and delicious—a perfect microcosm of the whole album.
Listen to Twelve Gardens on bandcamp.
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Simone Wolff lives in NYC with their grandma, best friend, boyfriend, snake, spider, and two cats. They’re a Cancer sun, Gemini moon, and Capricorn rising.