TWINS is an Iowa band formed in 2011 by members of the Sires family. Dream On is the group’s fourth album, just released this June. The band has shared the stage with many notable acts such as Dr. Dog, the Jayhawks, Ben Kweller, Lydia Loveless and many more. They have toured extensively since forming, playing shows and festivals all over the U.S. from Iowa’s “80/35” to an official SXSW showcase in 2016 on the heels of their album Square America, which was released through the independent label Maximum Ames Records. Dream On finds the band at a crossroads – “redirecting” their efforts which earned them a reputation as an intense and energetic ’70s rock n’ roll band. The group calls this latest recording “an existential album – honest and comfortable in its own skin” and a “singer/songwriter album with roots in classic American rock n’ roll.” Recorded in an old store front in an Iowa ghost town, you’ll hear echoes of many great artists such as, The Grateful Dead, Wilco, Kris Kristofferson, Bruce Springsteen, Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams, Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot and Bob Dylan.
Opening the album is “The Laws of Love” a slow, folk rock number complete with a full sound of bass, drums, piano and a smooth, twangy guitar – oh yeah, and the sweet sounds of the mandolin – a nice, all around tune to introduce the listener. “Hearts” is a faster number, a little more pop, a bit more twang on the voice.
This one melds together America roots music ala Springsteen with the band’s own brand of arrangement. One of things I like best about these types of bands is how they can “transport your consciousness” to an emotional place in one’s heart – that’s what “Reminds Me of the Rose” did for me. Kind of what old Springsteen stuff did when I first heard it. If what I said made sense, then you know what I mean. Beautiful song.
“Passenger” puts together ‘70s rock sensibilities with modern influences of the Jayhawks, Wilco and the Black Crowes. A great rock melody, with nice solos here and there. And, you can never have enough cowbell – you’ll hear that too. Next is “In Yer Dreams” a slight detour into the folksier side of the band starting out with harmonica, but there’s a definite rock n’ roll style with more mandolin and the organ, too. In fact, there’s seems to be a lot going on musically here. “Buffalo Snow” feels introspective with hushed tones and the gentle brush sounds on the snare. Being from the upper Midwest, any song with ‘snow’ in the title is relatable and well worth a listen. A gorgeous song with tender melodies, this gave me goosebumps – the good kind.
“So Far Gone” has got some great finesse. A smooth groove that if you listen close, has that classic ‘70s rock sound but with the band’s own modern style. The bass line was killer. “Straight River Sketch” features the acoustic as lead and some extra effects thrown in to keep time. This one definitely has a singer/songwriter shine to it. Not too familiar with Townes Van Zandt and I only know a handful of Kristofferson songs, but I suspect their influences fit right alongside here. Anyway, another fantastic number with softhearted melodies and lyrics that would make a grown man cry. Man, I could listen to this one several times over. Last up, is “Living Proof” and the arrangement with piano melody made me think Springsteen almost immediately – think his old ‘70s Jersey stuff. Love it! As a whole, TWINS’Dream On is consistent and balanced from beginning to end. Great inviting melodies and solid chemistry between the players. Don’t pass this one up!
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