There comes a time in most bands’ careers when they unexpectedly tear whole pages out of their existing playbook and make major changes to their sound in a bid to make it fresh and exciting. For Twin Atlantic that appears to be new album ’GLA’.
Things get off to a high-octane start with a one-two knockout combination of ’Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’ and ’No Sleep’ impressing right out of the gate, oozing cool and packing swaggering angular riffs aplenty. Although it’s the beginning of a sense that, at times, we get a focus on an up-tempo heavy indie-centric approach that pushes nearly everything else to one side. And to be really honest, it’s rather hit-and-miss. It makes the band feel edgier than they ever have before, though it bogs proceedings down a little in places. Particularly on ‘You Are the Devil’ and ‘Overthinking’.
It’s a natural progression from a sound touched on last time out. But the lack of the slower, more emotive numbers that the band have become known for really sticks out and makes it hard to form a strong connection. That said there’s something strangely reminiscent about the mainstream radio rock bothering abilities of the likes of Kings Of Leon about ‘Ex El’, as it pushes McTrusty’s vocals to their limit. While ‘Valhalla’ brings in moody synths and a stomping chorus to credible effect.
Thankfully, the warmth and heart that has made Twin’s songwriting so beloved by fans edges its way back in. Even if their trademark stratospheric chorus drops are few and far between. Proceedings noticeably improve in the later stages and ‘The Chaser’ provides the perfect balance between the band’s old and new sounds on a rollicking, addictive rock number; before ‘Whispers’ and ’A Scar To Hide’ hark back to the uplifting slow build style they’ve used before with almost irresistible results.
That Twin Atlantic have pushed their sound and growth as an artist is tricky to criticise, however, it’s a pursuit that always leaves the danger of throwing the metaphorical baby out with the bath water. And there’s quite a bit of that in evidence here. In ’GLA’, Twin Atlantic are sounding flashy, grandiose and musically potent. It’s a stylish and infectious batch of songs, but one that’s frequently harder than it should be to really love.
‘GLA’ by Twin Atlantic is released on September 9th on Red Bull Records.
Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)