Review Summary: Even as a watered down product, Great Divide still is a fiery, solid import
For Twin Atlantic, it’s the shadows no more! Trumpets blaring, gongs sounding and angels descending: That’s how the quartet from Glasgow, Scotland, chooses to reveal itself to the greater world on Great Divide
. Not literally, of course, but the alternative rock outfit’s third album is one big, bombastic announcement party that hopes to spill onto the streets to continue the pandemonium in much larger, stadium-sized venues.
Surprisingly, however, Great Divide
opens this fanfare with the tame piano-driven “The Ones That I love (Intro)” that laments the loss of the vigor of youth, insinuating an ambitious, mature affair to follow. It’s misleading, as the ensuing “Heart and Soul,” a mid-tempo rocker, attests. The album’s first single boasts windup verses punctuated with intermittent, choppy guitar chords before blossoming into a massive chorus with enough thrust to launch rockets into orbit.
Make no mistake: Great Divide
is steeped with post hardcore-influenced, emo-tinged anthems that are aimed at the upper reaches of the atmosphere in the hopes that missing means hitting the dizzying heights at Wembley Stadium. Although always energetic and melodic, Twin Atlantic trades the songwriting subtlety of their earlier works for immediate accessibility. Thanks to the slick production, the guitar lines are tighter, the drumming less boisterous and the hooks easier to follow. Certainly, there’s nothing earth shattering here, despite the group’s enthusiastic, concussive attempts to shift a few of the planet’s tectonic plates.
Still, the Scots are enjoyable even without their signature “kilts” and “haggis,” so to speak. “Hold On,” with its faint background synths, is reminiscent of The Killers circa Sam’s Town
. “Be a Kid” and “Rest in Pieces” are effective, if unoriginal, ballads, with the latter’s unexpected restraint and steady rhythms making it a standout.
They also still have the ‘ole Sam McTrusty drawl to differentiate the outfit from the myriad of the similarly styled acts. His rasp, though raw at times, is needed to deliver the bad-boy moxie to make tunes like the floor stomper “Cell Mate” a treat. McTrusty, like Twin Atlantic, are best when unruly and on the verge of coming unhinged with the band’s raucous instrumental inertia and sheer exuberance proving irresistible like on mosher “Fall into the Party” and the up-tempo “Actions That Echo.”
Predictably, there will be those who are put off by Twin Atlantic’s shift to reach the radio-friendly arena rock airwaves. Second single “Brothers and Sisters” is a cliché call to arms, and the acoustic “Oceans” and closer “Why Won’t We Change” are snoozers. The lyrical themes also can be a little grating with the emphasis on the trite teenage carpe diem, YOLO motifs: “Let’s drink, smoke and fornicate to a quicker casket cuz we’re young!”
Even so, the band stays relatively consistent and capable on Great Divide
and in their greater discography. Though overall more tidy than usual, Twin Atlantic remains a loud, fun ruckus.
"Fall into the Party"
"Rest in Pieces"
"Actions That Echo"