Review

Zen Garden flex newfound indie-rock proclivities in their latest EP, Troubled Tree

Last I heard from Zen Garden they were navigating a delightfully refreshing take on indie-pop, replete in early 2010’s nostalgia and funk driven basslines. The funk-driven bass is still there, two years later, but they’re also dipping their toes into raggedy riff-driven waters with their latest EP, Troubled Tree

Penned entirely during a band getaway weekend, and recorded at Bokburg’s BSharp studios, it’s a fleeting three-track offering – bursting with riveting basslines and cruising melody. Each track, in turn, packs its own unique punch – resulting in an offering which feels a lot more fleshed out than you might expect of something so brief. 

Opener “The Best” was written within the first ten minutes of said getaway’s writing sessions, and navigates a self deprecating take on love at first sight within a languid, cruising melodic scope. While “Without You” takes the same narrative and flips it 180 into a break-up song hidden beneath a snappy, sultry bass-led rhythm. 

But it’s closer “Trouble” which really kicks off Zen Garden’s new sonic trajectory. Psych-rock chords take the place of their indie counterparts. Broad riffage and snappy lyricism get real about that end-of-month angst (“I see some woman checking out my hairdo from behind/ but I need more money at the end of the month so I can buy my trouble”), and Zen Garden once again hit right like a 2013 festival line-up.

Feature pic by Arno van Wyk