“Native Garden” by An Old Friend

“Laced with habits / We will find our exit / From all this pain / Even if we couldn’t change / Eventually we’ll find a way” we’re told in an especially epic moment of An Old Friend’s new single “Native Garden,” the vocals somehow matching the intensity of the adjacent riff in all of its metallic glory.

Alongside the hook, the verses continue with “In the pines, we walked for hours / To find a place / That our minds would find familiar / Where we once stayed,” a sense of brooding washing over the speakers that replaces the grit of the guitars with a feeling of poetic irony transcendent of lyrics and sonic parameters altogether. An Old Friend dispenses maximum potency in this latest release; perhaps, some will find, more than they have in years. 

I love the chugging riffs that draw us in at the start of this track, and had they not been mixed with as aggressive of a finish as they were, I don’t know that the song would have the same volatile, brash feel that it does in this present state. The guitar parts are generally thick and heavy throughout “Native Garden,” but they’re far from reminiscent of the mundane alternative metal that we heard out of the underground just when it was beginning to get interesting for critics and fans some ten years ago. 

WATCH THE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSWAdB_5Tpc

A lot of bands that have been together as long as An Old Friend have started to lose their creative duality upon return visits to the recording studio, but after taking a peek at the video for this most recent offering, that’s not an issue for these guys. The complex structuring of the song on its own suggests that we should expect some level of elaborate compositional skills in any upcoming LPs, and my gut tells me that this is probably just a generous sneak preview. 

There’s not a ton of bass presence in this mix, but I don’t think there needed to be to create some weight in the backend of the track. “Native Garden” is already boasting some of the heavier guitars I’ve heard in a contemporary rock song this year, and this lean, snake-like bassline is probably better suited for its structure than any sort of murky stoner sounds would have been. If the credit this crew is getting from the press tells me one thing about their creative talents above all else, it is that they know what they’re doing. 

Slick and efficient but not devoid of a carnal rock edge, fans of the alternative beat both past and present can’t go wrong in checking out An Old Friend’s latest single and its music video this September. I’m jazzed to hear a proper album from these guys, but in the meantime, this is a great teaser of what could be another instant classic for indie rockers of all stripes. “Native Garden” doesn’t sell out their sound for the plasticity of modern pop, and that’s something we should be celebrating a lot more than we have been. 

Anne Hollister

Anne Hollister

We do music reviews for Independent Artists and Publicists.

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