While many musicians jump at the latest technology when it comes to crafting their sound in the studio, some prefer not to fix what was never broken. The Two Ties are two of those musicians with an affinity for the sound of yesteryear. Nils and Alex came together after discovering their mutual interest in 60s and 70s music while studying psychology in Berlin. (Why mention their academic concentration? It's apparent that they used their studies on human perception to their advantage.) After hunting down their ideal instruments in the eBay jungle, the guys made their way from Berlin to Copenhagen.
With a vintage preference, since the duo lacked a complete collection of recording equipment, they sought a studio capable of conceiving their EP Words In Mind. Fortunately they didn't have to travel far and settled on Black Tornado Studios, the next door neighbor to their rehearsal space.
With only two days to record, mix and master their entire EP, The Two Ties walked in the door with an arsenal of songs and lyrics. The best thing about the production of Words in Mind is that the guys took advantage of the spacious studio with their mic setup, unintentionally resulting in a "live" sound. A key characteristic of this feel was when it came to recording vocals- the sound Nils of singing through a Copperphone was captured as it was coming out of his amp.
While able to appreciate Words in Mind for simple listening pleasures, the experience is enhanced by placing the soulful songs to a perspective of Nils in a whirlwind romance. Words in Mind's first of five captivating tracks starts off with "A Man's Worth These Days," what sounds like a post-coital soliloquy, cigarette in hand. Not only are we introduced to Alex's (self-described as "trashy") vintage Ludwig drums and Nils' 1975 Ibanez "Lawsuit" SG and a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with P90 pickups- we begin a beautiful friendship with vocals reminiscent of my grandmother's mashed potatoes- deliciously creamy with the occasional lumps of catharsis.
Fast forward into this romance, and we're experiencing the gritty garage rock of the second track, "Lined Up Words," displaying the couple's first roadblock. Still unable to find resolution, Nils is left to wonder "Is There Hope For Me," treating our ears to Jimmy Page riffs and vocal crescendos, ripe with angst. Just as the dwindling communication among the couple seems like enough to break them, "On My Knees" is a last Hail Mary. (This was actually the point where I finally began to feel somewhat intrusive.) The final track, "Hold Me Tight," is a hint of progress in the couple's communication, Nils presenting his woman with a final ultimatum.The bonus track, "Queen and King" is a followup to the romance, which is worth leaving a mystery as far as this review goes since it's only available upon purchase of the EP on Bandcamp.
I'd normally be disappointed with not being able to make out every lyric, but the saturation of passion in this blues EP leaves little to be desired. As far as instrumentals go, I haven't experienced such rhythmic bliss since my first time listening to The Black Keys. The Two Ties have developed an anomalous sound, appealing enough for both Red Bull and Nitro Snowboards to feature it in their snowboard video clips. When The Two Ties finalize their vintage recording collection and produce their first full album, I will be first in line, popcorn in hand, ready for another tempestuous affair.
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