As the adage goes, conflict begets creativity. As with most adages, a key detail is omitted from that well-known phrasing—how it should go is that “conflict without cynicism begets creativity.” Supportive conflict, conflict deploying empathy and understanding, is what actually prompts any art worth creating. Case in point: the output from Perth’s rising stars Sly Withers.
With two primary songwriters sharing the workload, Sly Withers are a curious outlier in typical composition. Though they’re friends and bandmates, Sam and Jono are two very different humans, with different wonks and theories and, as Blunt Magazine would learn speaking with the pair, two duelling (read: conflicting without cynicism) philosophies when it comes to making music. It was through understanding and empathising with each other’s opposing perspectives that they came to create their brilliant new record Gardens, out Friday, 11th June via Dew Process.
Already the band have given some detailed insight into the greater release through heavy-hitting singles ‘Cracks‘ and the recent ‘Clarkson‘. Zooming out, over the course of Gardens’ 12 songs, Sly Withers poke and prod at the general malaise and discombobulation that comes with the onset of adulthood. It isn’t a gripe at growing up, nor is it a fool-proof guide, it’s simply a documentation of one of life’s strangest stages. Through minimal instrumentals and lyrics, Sly Withers use Gardens to wiggle edgeways through the uncertainties of early adulthood to drive towards one undeniable conclusion; we all go through pretty much the same struggles.
Given that they’re actually living through that stage of their lives, much of what Sly Withers put into Gardens has a very real sense of urgency to it, so much so that it jumps straight from the speakers on which it’s playing and into the pockets of listeners to carry with them throughout their day. The concepts of compromise and vulnerability beam through as a result, as Sly Withers remain intent on practicing what they preach.