New York quintet’s pair of EPs point towards a promising future.
Chris White 2010-09-23
Even before the commercial and critical breakthrough of Vampire Weekend, Brooklyn has been something of a global epicentre for quirky but achingly cool alternative rock, with a steady stream of hotly tipped new bands emerging from the borough’s music scene over the past few years.
Twin Sister, originally from nearby Long Island, have been generating quite a buzz in the hipster bars of their adopted home and these two EPs, released together in the UK, suggest the five-piece are another act who could make a real impact.
Although only formed two years ago, Twin Sister already possess a distinctive, hypnotic sound, capable of both otherworldly iciness and organic warmth. Clear influences are apparent – for example, the childlike whimsy of Björk and Joanna Newsom in Andrea Estella’s vocals – but in general they stand apart from the too-clever-by-half angular art-rock of many of their contemporaries.
First EP Vampires With Dreaming Kids, released mere months after the band’s birth in 2008, is perhaps understandably the more uneven of the two discs, with Nectarine’s unremarkable acoustic rock rubbing shoulders with the shuffling Dirty Projectors-like groove of I Want a House. But the group’s burgeoning strengths are impressively displayed on standout track Ginger, a swirling, ethereal epic that recalls the soaring majesty of Cocteau Twins at their best.
This direction is continued on Color Your Life, which although lacking a song as immediate as Ginger is a more consistent collection overall. Compositions like The Other Side of Your Face and Phenomenons develop slowly and atmospherically, building layers of ambient 80s synthesisers, glacial guitar and echoing drums while Estella whispers and chants her subtle, beguiling melodies.
It takes a few listens to lodge in the brain, but there’s something undeniably infectious about this mellow, understated yet also strangely uplifting music, which makes you unexpectedly tap your toes to its insistent, insidious beats while simultaneously losing yourself in dreamlike soundscapes. Twin Sister may lack the killer tunes to emulate Vampire Weekend’s chart success, but a devoted fan base and some even better records in the future would certainly be no surprise.
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