Turns out, when Twin Atlantic unleash untold savagery in the form of a pop song, they’re amazing. Who knew?
It’s the age of the Trojan rock band. Once, alternative music would lay siege to the mainstream, occasionally breaching the gates to run riot in its heavily monitored streets, marrying actresses, dropping award ceremony microphones and waggling its arse at pop royalty. Now the walls are reinforced with attitude-repelling ramparts and bands like The 1975 and Twin Atlantic are sneaking inside disguised as huge wooden boy bands then leaping out in the night and kicking significant arse.
From their first three albums, you’d have mistaken Glasgow’s Twin Atlantic for Biffy Syco – a slick, shampooed, training bra of a Scot-rock band, seemingly cloned from the tatt-sweat of Simon Neil for the benefit of advertising executives who couldn’t afford the real thing. This fourth album, however, sees them do a reverse Biffy, tearing off their polite pop mask and starting the savagery. Opener ‘Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’ sets the tone; a two-note electro-thrash akin to The White Stripes or Biffy at their most stabby, singer Sam McTrusty howling: “Pull my sunken eyes out!” like the world’s most manic organ donor. Insomniac’s anthem ‘No Sleep’, full of confessions of pill popping and boozing themselves unconscious, nods to The Black Keys’ grunge blues and Enter Shikari’s screamo-tronica. On the fuzz-glam ‘You Are The Devil’ McTrusty falls for a she-demon; on Muse-alike gutter disco track ‘I Am Alive’ he’s “falling into hell just to mess you up”.
Battered and brutalised, Twin Atlantic’s intrinsic pop nous gains depth and credibility on ‘Overthinking’, ‘Missing Link’, ‘The Chaser’ and highlight ‘Ex El’ – Arcade Fire suspiciously circling a McFly chorus, basically – and a pop epic like ‘Whispers’ becomes a brooding masterpiece that makes Biffy’s ‘Mountains’ look like Peter Gabriel’s ‘Solsbury Hill’. Next week: James Bay turns out to be the new Grimes.
Record label: Red Bull Records
Release date: 09 Sep, 2016