There’s much more to this act’s music than tweeness – and it can get a bit sexy, too.
Chris Parkin 2011-09-21
Twin Sister’s star-bright melodies and honeyed harmonies; front lady Andrea Estella’s wistful sighing and indie-as-a-pin-badge bangs; the band’s washed-out vintage-styled press photos and general surface-level chirpiness. Together, all these factors might have newcomers concluding that this Long Island five-piece are all sweetness and light and retro satchels. Which isn’t wrong exactly, but neither is it suitably defining. There’s something intriguingly wispy and ungraspable about Twin Sister’s music that makes them so much more than cute.
If Twin Sister are indeed sweet, it’s only in the same way that The Sugarcubes, Stereolab and even Broadcast were. Or the way Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti are now. Because for all the band’s sun-dappled pop and playful synths, which scissor across adroitly funky rhythms and twinkly washes of noise, the wonky soft-lit way in which it’s all put together – percolating like a lava lamp – makes for an album that’s melancholy and creepy. And in the case of Bad Street, with its strutting disco synths and hushed pillow talk, a bit sexy too.
This is an airy (but not aerated) blend of ambience, indie pop and 80s synth music, delivered with a grace that ensures they’re miles from lo-fi territory. Space Babe is woozily psychedelic like the aforementioned Ariel Pink, and in other moments Twin Sister have something of the silver screen about them. There’s the Twin Peaks-y drama of Spain, with its elegant swirl and stalking bass, and Gene Ciampi, a dream-pop Spaghetti Western tune that swings from a 60s Latin beat to an inflection of Japanese folk, via galloping rhythms.
These unexpected sounds and Estella’s surreal lyrics are what made All Around and Away We Go from their EP Color Your Life so satisfying: that was a cute indie pop song lashed to a looping and sensual motorik groove. And these lovely songs are dotted with similarly sharp and unexpected tacks – the effect of which is a little like realising that sweetly voiced folkstrel you weren’t sure about is actually singing about cool stuff such as medieval murder and not kittens.
Only the daintily kooky Saturday Sunday comes anything close to confirming those first suspicions of tweeness with an off-putting noise reminiscent of Powder. Everywhere else, though, Twin Sister confound expectations.