Sly Withers Explore Flower Metaphors & Mateship On New Album 'Gardens'

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Perth band Sly Withers' new album 'Gardens' is released June 11. Perth band Sly Withers' new album 'Gardens' is released June 11.

Sly Withers are dusting and preening their feathers in the backyard like the kind of solid, furry friend you want in your life, ready with reassuring anthems of mateship and other wholesome things, ready to be released in their next album 'Gardens'.

Signed with Dew Process two years ago, the 'pandemic that hit the pause button on the world' allowed the Perth band to spend more time carefully landscaping the 12 tracks that feature on 'Gardens'.

The group's co-vocalist and guitarist Sam Blitvich details his gratitude for how "relatively unscathed" Western Australia was from the pandemic during 2020. "We had a pretty good opportunity to finish the record [without] rushing it, making sure we did it in our own time," he says.

"We did all the live tracking for the drums over the one weekend," adds Jono [Mata, co-vocalist and guitarist], with the idea being to finish the rest within a couple of months.

"Then when all the COVID stuff happened we gave ourselves another six, eight months to really lock things in and experiment a bit more."

Collaborator Matt Templeman (Make Them Suffer, Voyager, Xenobiotic) produced the record. "He's the wizard in terms of how it all sounds," Sam says. "It sounds massive and we were stoked."

The latest single from the album, 'Clarkson', ends with an intriguing phrase: "Every rose in the garden needs some time with a hose to feel fine."

When probed about it, Sam turns to Jono: "That's just a flower metaphor, right?" Yes, turns out it is just the kind of nurturing idea we expect from Sly Withers.

"At my house I have this one flower bed that is all roses, that my mum is particularly fond of," Jono answers. "Every time she would go away and I was house sitting, she would tell me to make sure I water all of those roses. Quite often I wouldn't – and that was just a line about [how] every rose in the garden needs a bit of water, to be happy."

As both are writers, and sometimes co-writers, can the lads choose a favourite line that the other wrote? Sam's first to answer.

"I am quite a fan of the 'every rose in the garden needs some time with a hose' line. I think it's quite a beautiful metaphor for self-care and for looking after your mates and stuff. I love all Jono's songs to be honest with you."

Jono chuckles with graceful surprise while Sam proceeds. "I could pick a favourite line in every one of those tracks, but yeah, maybe that one."

"For me, I couldn't narrow it down in terms of profoundness," Jono adds, "but I think your line that is delivered the best across the whole album, is that last bit before the drop down in 'Taking Steps'." That line is: "I'm way too good at finding excuses to come undone."

In case you're wondering what Sly Withers would be if they were a cereal, Sam guesses: "Maybe something like Just Right, [with] multiple components." Jono suggests it would be healthy, with "some fruit in there. It could be your dessert cereal."

Sounds like something that's actually good for you any time of the day. Something wholesome, like their band unit, which has evolved into one of their friendship circles, not only because they all live within five minutes of each other.

"Our girlfriends are best friends," Jono decrees. "So we're a wholesome little unit over here in WA."

As for a special track on the album they hope everyone gives a listen to, it seems they both concur. "I'm super proud of 'Glad', I think it's my favourite," Sam says.

"I think it's my favourite one I've ever written. It's about the passing of my grandfather and me processing that with my family over the course of a couple of weeks."

Jono agrees: "I think 'Glad' because that's the most cohesive we've ever been in terms of gelling together for a song, but not doing too much, and it also turns out it was the biggest flip on a song that we've done."

Sam interjects: "Oh, because it was pop punk and now it's hell vibey."

Yes, both ends of that spectrum are in 'Gardens', awaiting your sensory attention soon.

'Gardens' is released June 11.



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