“The dynamic is Tippi and Leila are very zen and chill, and they bring us back down to earth when we need it, and then me and Annabel are known as The Chaos Twins. We’re constantly on a high,” grins Lime Garden’s redhead vocalist Chloe Howard as the other half of her wild pairing pipes up: “If it wasn’t for that equal split, then madness in either direction would ensue…”
Formed initially at university in Guildford and then fully cemented with a relocation down to Brighton, Lime Garden are the sort of band that coming-of-age films are made for. Equal parts hyperactive enthusiasm and dry self-awareness (“We had our first meeting in Milton Keynes shopping centre outside a Krispy Kreme,” notes the singer sagely of her and drummer Annabel Whittle’s inaugural conflab), they’re prone to chatter that excitedly tumbles over each other, guitarist Leila Deeley and bassist Tippi Morgan completing a quartet that encapsulate the pure giddy joy of crafting bangers with your bezzie mates.
For all that talk of ‘women in music’ can make for conversations too tired to even vaguely indulge, Lime Garden are a group of four women who obviously adore being just that. “We didn’t want any men in our band; fuck that, they’re annoying!” grimaces Annabel. “When you jam with them, they’re always just over-compensating and that’s NOT COOL.” And though the quartet themselves began - via childhoods and teenage years spent variously listening to different types of ‘70s rock, psychedelia, emo and hair metal - trying to rail against archaic expectations (“We very much started at college being a heavy band,” notes Leila. “We wanted to prove ourselves as girls and be really loud, but then we grew up and learnt to pull the song out of the noise”), it’s by embracing their true dynamic that the four have really started to come into their own.
“We didn’t want any men in our band; fuck that, they’re annoying!”
— Annabel Whittle
Drip-feeding a string of early singles that have veered from the infectious bounce of debut ‘Surf N Turf’, through to the more restrained, introverted ‘Sick And Tired’ to the bass-led stalk of this winter’s ‘Clockwork’, the “Limey sound” that populates each distinct nugget is one that’s blossomed within adversity.
“Before lockdown, we were quite into jamming and writing in the room. But then when we were split apart for so long, we started writing using computers and, through that, our music got a lot more electronic and poppy because we discovered this whole new world of stuff to play with,” explains Chloe. “That was a turning point that gave us time to think, what kind of band do we want to be?” agrees Annabel. And what sort of band DO they want to be? “A successful one,” she answers without missing a beat as her bandmates erupt into chuckles.
Having spent early practices learning to play Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Arabella’, you can still hear the backbone of classic indie throughout the band’s current output, but Lime Garden’s knack for a hook is also far from predictable. Lyrically, Chloe describes the red thread of their outlook as having “that melancholic, happy-sad feeling about it; a dance and a cry, that’s all we’re after”, while Leila decides that musically their style is “poppy stuff that’s electronic, but with slightly wonky guitars”. From the outside, we’d argue the most cohesive thing about it all is Lime Garden themselves; thrift-shop clad early twenty-somethings who love a laugh and a bright, brilliant hook, they could follow the likes of Peace and The Big Moon as the next lovable guitar gang.
Next up, as well as heading out for a portion of DIY’s Class of 2022 tour with Yard Act, the quartet will reveal ‘Clockwork’’s b-side ‘Marbles’ in January. “It’s about when you have a group of friends that are a bit crazy and who make you feel like you’re going a bit mad if you’re around them for too long. But it’s very dancey and fun, and a good way to start the new year on a high,” nods Chloe. “We’d been toying around with it for ages and we just couldn’t figure it out; we thought we’d invented another key of music because we just couldn’t work out what was going on. But then we eventually managed to sort it out and now it sounds sick,” Annabel confirms.
They’re still leaving things loose as to when a debut EP or album might emerge, but state that the only plan for it would be “just banger after banger after banger, to be honest”. It might sound like a tall order for a group who’ve only got half-a-dozen songs to be judged on, but with vibes this high and a camaraderie that’s tangible, you wouldn’t want to bet against them.
Don’t believe us? Let Lime Garden tell you themselves. “We want to bring mind-blowingly amazing vibes!” declares Chloe. “The band of the century!”
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