GardenFrom its explosive, opening violin line, The Garden demands your full attention with a rhetorical challenge that makes you want to hold your head a little higher: Who told you to give up on the garden? Loss, recovery, survival, and hope take center stage in the title track, and then wind their way through all 11 songs in this defiant collection. Thematically grandiose? A bit. But disarmingly genuine at the same time, as is the hallmark of this band that has honed an uncanny ability to write inspirational anthems with a sense of humor that keeps them believable. Indie rock irony is finally dead and The Shondes offer a potent alternative. Rousing and raucous, sincere and spirited, this is what happens when the legacies of Bikini Kill and Bruce Springsteen join forces in Brooklyn s hardest-working band. When powerhouse vocalist Louisa Rachel Solomon sings I need a dream for right now (Nights Like These), you believe her. The line doesn t come off as a pop clich, but instead as an honest plea on an album that unapologetically dreams of a brighter future, and convinces you to take it seriously. Says Solomon, If there s one thing I learned from Riot Grrrl when I was really young, it s that you shouldn t censor your sorrow, rage, and joy in your songs... even if you re afraid it ll sound super cheesy. And so The Shondes invite you and your cheesy feelings in, too. The Garden is, after all, all of ours, a well-worn metaphorical landscape that the band embraces to its fullest populist potential.Nothing More Whole Than a Broken Heart is a fist-pumping paean to growing up, and borrows its refrain from a Yiddish proverb (befitting a band whose moniker is Yiddish for disgraces ). Solomon explains The Garden is an album about the kind of growing up you do over and over again. And indeed, the band s fourth outing seems emblematic of fully coming into their own. Described by Producer Tony Maimone (founding member of seminal experimental rock band Pere Ubu) as a band of scrappers, they have certainly fought for their recognition, building a devoted fanbase over eight years on the road, reliably offering their sweat and heartfelt emotion up night after night. The Garden, recorded at Brooklyn s Studio G, may finally be the album that captures the signature live energy that makes this band so special to their fans. Peter Ames Carlin says "The Garden has the same wild finesse and seething humanity of the Shondes" earlier work -- except now it sounds better than ever.... These power-punk-whip-smart- Brooklynites are the real thing, and then some." The album s photography was shot by iconic rock photographer Frank Stefanko, best known for his portraits of Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen (including the beloved covers of The River and Darkness on the Edge of Town). Stefanko says The Garden takes hold and sticks with you, a vote of confidence The Shondes were honored to receive.