Review Summary: Twin Atlantic doesn't succeed in making their debut full length special, as this mostly boring effort only shows flashes of what we thought this album would be.
4 of 4 thought this review was well written
The most trying part of a band's life cycle is the jump from EP (or in this case mini-album) to a full blown 11 to 13 song LP. This is when a band shows that they can make a strong, cohesive product or fall down to monotony. Twin Atlantic's debut Light Speed showed the ability to draw in listeners behind catchy riffs and hooks, but follow up Free often feels boring. At times, the band shows the ability to win a listener's full attention, but in the full scheme of things, Free will be soon forgotten.
Twin Atlantic won over many fans from their contagious, yet still technical tracks such as "Human After All" and "What Is Light? Where Is Laughter". Sadly, there really aren't any tracks that live up to those standards. Flat choruses as in "Apocalyptic Renegade", "Time For You To Stand Up", and "Yes, I Was Drunk" really harm the album from the get-go, as that stretch of songs give an extremely poor early impression of the album. Testing out an instrumental interlude fails, as four minutes is far too long for band of this style to simply play ambient riffs. The band also experiments with a heavier and darker sound with "Edit Me", "The Ghost Of Eddie", and "We Want Better, Man", only hitting successfully on the new sound with one of the three ("Edit Me"). On "The Ghost Of Eddie", vocal effects ruin the charm of Sam McTrusty's highly accented voice, as the attempt to give McTrusty a grungy tone backfired completely. The shouts and screams in the track as well as "We Want Better, Man" are poor and unnecessary, and simply move the band in the direction that many fans weren't hoping for.
The middle stretch of tracks "Free", "Crash Land", and "Make A Beast Of Myself" display the techniques that Twin Atlantic should have used much more often throughout the album. "Free" is the track most similar to the fan favorites from Vivarium, as the upbeat verses lead up to the powerful chorus, where McTrusty dominates with his strong vocals. "Make A Best Of Myself" is another vocally centered track, as McTrusty hits his upper register with little effort. But "Crash Land" is where Twin Atlantic hits in every such way, as beautiful cello played by Barry McKenna accents the acoustic guitars and McTrusty's voice bleeds emotion more than any other track the band has released so far, crying "And nothing gets better than memories/When all you have are memories for friends." In fact, this one song almost saves the whole album from being tossed aside.
But not quite. It's just too hard to save a thirteen song, forty-seven minute long album with just one excellent song and a couple other good ones. It almost seems like Twin Atlantic could have cut out three songs, making it a still decently sized full length. Instead, Free is mostly filler, and does not allow a listener to maintain full attention throughout the entire album. Twin Atlantic isn't doomed in their future, as even strong bands can create poor records. Hopefully, the band will grow from this debut, and bring together all the positive aspects shown scattered throughout Free to write the album we all know these Scots can produce.
Hey, this review is SOLID. I mean the great kind of solid. You got all the fundamentals for this shit down. So don't get down on yourself, this is a fantastic effort. And the beautiful thing about writing is you can always get better. I notice in all your reviews you tend to categorize all the songs and discuss the albums that way. Nothing wrong with this, but it could help you if you played around with the format a little.Find a theme, make a comparison, do something batshit crazy, try being creative with your next review, that's what makes a kick-ass writer, someone who's always challenging himself.
Good work, man. I enjoyed Vivarium, and it's disappointing, at least from what I've heard, that this isn't up to par. I was relying on Free to be my start-up catchy album for the summer, and now, well, it's just not and I'm not sure if I'll get one of those this year.
I wonder what Adam will think of this, but so far I think I agree with you. If my opinion changes I may write something up, though.
Nice review. I've had the album since friday. I agree that it has a few filler tracks. They definitely should have left out 2 or 3 songs. Also it kinda lacks the experimental sound some of the songs on 'Vivarium' have. Still a 3 or 3.5 for me at the moment.