Review Summary: Seductive like the devil
Mr D has always been a source of inspiration, one way or another. From Robert Johnson’s “transaction” with him at a Mississippi highways crossroads and the overall Satanic image of ‘60s band Coven, to a loud Englishman with a receding hairline and skinny boys running around in the forests of Norway, Beelzebub is the gift that keeps on giving. If not for the “Satanic Doo-Wop” tag on the album’s cover, no one would expect what is actually contained in Twin Temple’s debut; a blend of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll and horror-shock lyrics. Granted, such a mix is a double-edged knife. On one hand, the deviation from the norms of doo-wop forms an interesting contrast but, at the same time, it can easily get cringey if you’re not in a certain mood. Nevertheless, there are redeeming features, such as the genuinely vintage, ‘70s B-Horror movie atmosphere, created by the Los Angeles duo; an outcome of the style of music, combined with the fuzzy production.
Vocalist, Alexandra James, brings to mind Amy Winehouse – a lazy yet apt comparison – and her performance is pretty much in the forefront of every song on here. She sounds playful on tracks like “The Devil (Didn't Make Me Do It)”, “I Know How to Hex You” and “Let's Hang Together”, three of the album’s best tracks. Of course, like every respectable ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll band, this duo utilizes heavily brass instruments, combined with a warm Gibson guitar tone. The overall songwriting is consistently good with only a couple of hiccups such as “I'm Wicked” which drags on and becomes quite repetitive, the mediocre Mexican-tinged “Santa Muerte”, and the trite “Femme Fatale”.
Overall, Twin Temple
is a refreshing listen – a contradiction considering its content – but it remains to be seen whether it will be as enjoyable when the whole Satanic Doo-Wop shtick fades. In addition, it will also be interesting to see where this band goes from here. Their next effort will lack the surprise factor and as such, much improved songwriting will be needed. Nevertheless, until then, the combination of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll with and tongue-in-cheek lyrics like the “Beelzebub” chants on “The Devil (Didn't Make Me Do It)” or the “please don’t hang us separately” line on “Let's Hang Together” won’t fail to form a grin on my face.