Twin Brother
Best Frenzy


4.5
superb

Review

by Richard Warrell USER (16 Reviews)
March 2nd, 2011 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Colourful, atmospheric music with overtones of darkness. A little gloomy or too uptight at times, but accomplished, well produced, and a genuine breath of fresh air.

Twin Brother claim to be an “experimental indie” band. Given indie’s focus on stripping back to the base elements of rock music, I question if there is really scope within that framework to experiment at all. Fortunately, if pressed to define this band’s sound, I would rather go for “post” or “progressive” indie. All equally ridiculous genre titles, but it’s the best I can do. The elements of indie are all in there – the jingly-jangly guitars, group vocals, the simple riffs, but it just isn’t the selling point of the music. The catchy riffs muted, the vocal hooks buried deep in reverb – the arrangements are so unusual for indie rock’s usually predictable style.

The progressive vibe comes from the time changes, multi-layered sounds and unconventional song structures, and from the band’s cheer ambition. A thick wash of guitars generates a wall of sound reminiscent of Be Here Now-era Oasis. It is impressive in scale, but unlike Oasis at their most over the top, Twin Brother do not match their ambitions with arrogance. They are saved from impossible ambition by moments like the last 20 seconds of “Always Split Apart”, remembering what it is to rock, diving headfirst into classic foot-stomping indie mayhem. These vignettes of more traditional rock music assist the listener with this rather challenging album.

Vocals are given a lot of space here, particularly on “Lost Thoughts” where they weave freely in and out of the music. Rather than being the focus of songs, vocals are used as one of a messy smorgasbord of techniques for communicating to the listener. The flaw of this, of course, is listeners finding an opening – like surfing, the tunes are great once you hit the crest and ride a song out, but it can be a battle getting there. I would recommend listening to this while doing something like paperwork – let it creep into the edge of your consciousness.

The band can’t be pigeon-holed at all. Swirling sound effects and drum loops abound on “Places with Names”, and the off-beat of “Lost Thoughts”, with their crazy bass lines, sound more like dubstep than rock ‘n’ roll. These moments are dark, atmospheric, confusing – definitely dubstep influenced. The use of piano particularly enhances this mood, always sounding cavernous and echoic.

The latter half of the album is happier. Songs like “Only In My Head” feel almost euphoric, and “Different Hue” is cheery - both in a shoegazer sort of way. “Only In My Head” is a highpoint, using all the aspects of the band’s sound at their most cohesively and intelligently. It is among the few songs with a chorus I can remember, and a bit of a vocal hook. The next track, “Growing Stronger” has real rock ‘n’ roll guitar bite in it, with these centrepieces of the album providing it with a balanced peak.

Really though, none of the songs stand out that much. With no short, catchy, single-style songs, the audio experience must be one you utterly immerse in; you can’t dip in and out tunes here. The interlinked nature of the chaos on the cover art is very representative of this.

The album closes with an unapologetically happy song, at once both relaxing and danceable. Even on the earlier upbeat tracks, sinister overtones pervaded, but not here. There are no attempts at playing with your mind like on earlier tracks – this is more like a soundtrack to a nature documentary if you were watching it on LSD.

It’s a shame that it’s only here, right at the end, the band sound like they’re relaxing and enjoying playing. Hopefully on subsequent releases they will loosen up and relax a little, but this is still very, very enjoyable stuff.

To my knowledge, this is only available for downloadable purchase from the band's own website (http://twin-brother.bandcamp.com/). You can stream it there for free, too.



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user ratings (8)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
iFghtffyrdmns
March 2nd 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I would recommend listening to this while doing something like paperwork – let it creep into the edge of your consciousness."

Funny you said this...I've spent the last few hours doing practice problems for my ordinary differential equations midterm tomorrow and I stumbled upon this. I've been listening to it for almost half an hour now and it is fantastic math-based background music. Nice call.

Also, as far as their genre goes. I'd dub their sound as a sort of psychedelic, shoegaze-influenced, experimental indie rock. One of those bands that just really can't be pigeon-holed, as you said. I also really agree that it's a record to listen to as a whole record, not to just dip in an out of single songs.

The only critique is including those last two sentences in a review. Usually, put something like that in the first comment for the review. Other than that, this was a fantastic read, well done. Pos'd without a doubt.

iFghtffyrdmns
March 2nd 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh also, not sure if you're aware of and/or responsible for this, but they cited you and your review on the nser site:
http://www.nationalsouthwestern.com/

TheRamblingElf
March 3rd 2011


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, they e-mailed me about 10 minutes after I put this online to tell me, they were FAST.

I felt the availability thing shouldn't go at the start, or it looks like an advert for the band (which it isn't XD), but should still be made clearly obvious since some people look a band up on iTunes and if they're not on there, won't go looking for it.

Good point about the shoegazing influence - for some reason I didn't think to use that word but it really fits in completely. Might sneak it in somewhere

iFghtffyrdmns
March 3rd 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah they must be lurking real hard around teh interwebz. Idk if you noticed but they also set up a troll account and gave this a five rating, it's the one album that account has rated haha. kinda funny shit. still a really, really enjoyable piece of music though, without a doubt, so thanks again for reviewing this.

TheRamblingElf
March 3rd 2011


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I did look at that and think "Subtle"

nationalSW
March 3rd 2011


2 Comments


Hello gents...

Created this acct just to refute the idea that we trolled the 5 rating. Can't say if it wasn't a bandmember's mother or something, but we emailed Richard to thank him for giving the record such an obviously thoughtful listen after a band member sent us the link to the review. It's nice to make some art and have somebody get it. We'd be happy for you to check out the records we've made with other Las Vegas bands on our site and listen to them with the same thoughtful attention, that's really all any of us are in this for.

Thanks,

All at National SouthWestern

nationalSW
March 3rd 2011


2 Comments


I should also say, the band has a pretty rabid following here, and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that it was one of their fans. We hope they make it to your town sometime, you are always welcome in ours.

iFghtffyrdmns
March 3rd 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

(pretty sure a celebrity just invited me to get drunk and crash on his couch, woop woop)

Either way, still a good record and I'll definitely check the other SW stuff when I get around to it.



TheRamblingElf
March 3rd 2011


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

NSW's point's legit, drama over :P

I might actually be able to make it to Vegas next year, despite living in the UK XD



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