Conceptually, much of Garden Party’s lyrics are rooted in an existential anxiety that Felton and Hall experience on both a macro and micro level. The ever-looming-but-never-arriving imminent doom of civilization that pervades 21st century mass media and internet culture leaves Felton and Hall with a seemingly distant or apathetic perspective. Album opener Dial Tone fantasizes about a hypothetical party where no people are present but automated technology goes through the motions nonetheless. Don’t Shoot Straight describes catastrophic destruction from the perspective of theater patrons who are humored by the apocalypse that’s unfolding before their eyes. But Felton and Hall have a very personal appreciation for their own mortality, as victims of separate cases of random violence that left them near-death. Felton was once beaten unconscious by a group of young men in a case of mistaken identity, and this incident is referenced in the track Michael. Years later in 2008, during production of their first album, Hall was stabbed in the abdomen with a 12” hunting knife by a complete stranger in center city Philadelphia in an unprovoked attack. He narrowly survived, and his attacker was convicted of attempted murder and imprisoned. So as album closer We Don’t Exist explores various afterlife theories, accepting and ultimately embracing the inevitable end, there is clearly a personal significance underlying the bigger picture being painted.
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