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Song of the day – 432: The Twerps + bonus album review

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Twerps - Twerps

I dunno. It seems unlikely that this series has any influence at all.

Those who already know who The Twerps are might read this, because they might want a little affirmation. More likely, they’ll ignore it because they don’t read Collapse Board or don’t require affirmation.

Those who don’t know who The Twerps are won’t read this, because no one needs to be told about another band not when there are millions out there already. A couple of dozen might be interested – those who still clutch onto the idea of Everett True as Gatekeeper or Mr. Motivator – but that will be it.

It’s raining outside – proper Queensland rain, not boring Brighton rain – and I’m not motivated to go out and brave it. So I thought I’d reprint this capsule album review from The Australian instead. At the weekend, a stranger was raving about how great this review was (and, by inference, how bad the rest of the reviews in The Australian are), the way I’d managed to pack so much information in. I remain unconvinced. Setting up context for a mass audience and trying to put across a sense of what the music is like in 140 words isn’t so easy, not when you’re also conforming to a style.

Maybe not. Maybe what my life desperately needs is some discipline, away from the enforced discipline of having kids.

Here’s the review. Note the star rating at the end.

For their debut album, playful Melbourne four-piece Twerps taps into the spirit of New Zealand’s influential Flying Nun Records, effortlessly recalling the label’s glory days during the 1980s.

The music feels vaguely slipshod, pleasingly random: guitars jangle and vocals seem to shy away from the microphone. Lyrics are classic, confused-young-unrequited love fare.

The songs are direct, laden with portent. Rather than irritate, the overall effect is to mesmerise. There’s a lightness of touch that some of Twerps’ more feted peers would do well to emulate.

The album’s centrepiece, the five-minute long Jam Song, is a slow-burning tour de force, caged by desperation. Despite being precisely what the title implies (an improvised jam), it’s a classic of its kind, recalling Dunedin band Straitjacket Fits’ debut EP and Tom Verlaine’s pivotal mid-70s New York outfit Television. The infectious singalong Who are You stakes the band’s place in Australia’s alt.rock community, featuring members of Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Panel of Judges and Beaches all slouching along with the chorus, “We’ll get drunk / We’ll get stoned / We’ll get high / We’ll get drunk”. Certainly a set-closer.

Music such as this often seems deceptively simple to play. There isn’t that much to it: a few catchy, melancholy choruses, a certain insouciant (though not arrogant) attitude, guitars and percussion that rattles and shakes. Yet it can’t be that simple, otherwise the musical world would be filled with albums as devastatingly beautiful as Twerps.

LABEL: Chapter Music
RATING: 4-1/2 stars

And here’s my favourite song from the album.

One Response to Song of the day – 432: The Twerps + bonus album review

  1. Charley Stone January 25, 2012 at 8:29 am

    That was a good song to end the day on.

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