Maritime climates are funny places. There's the warmth and sunny optimism that comes from a day at the beach, leading to a kind of dazed haze from the sun and heat. Then there's the misty moodiness of overcast days, when the skies seem like an endless wall of featureless grey clouds, lending themselves to distant staring, dreaming, and reverie.
Melbourne, Australia's TWINSPEAK capture this dichotomy using a mixture of '60s surf and moody Pacific Northwestern indie rock. The end result is a delicious honey/balsamic marmalade of upbeat guitars and thoughtful lyrics.
Their EP Breakwell comes charging out of the gate with "I'm Not Well," guitars pumping like a horse's heart at full gallop, overlaid with crystalline harmonics for that melodic edge, with some slyly psychotic lyrics. Singer Quilty Blue clearly has studied his Modest Mouse records, as his delivery favors a similar falling, deadpan delivery that serves as the cloudy sky, over the emerald lagoon of chiming guitars.
"Hemingway" is cut from a similar cloth, giving a cohesive flow to the collection. Guitars bend, twang and twine over a basic but deadly effective backbeat rave-up. Things break down into a moody half-time breakdown that really lets TWINSPEAK dig in their talons, laying into the groove!
The only downside is a bit of lackluster on the drums, which have just the tiniest tint of lo-fi, creating just a bit too much fuzz, being just a bit too flat when a bit of sparkle would carve and pop through the mix. I don't doubt this is due to limited means. It shall be most interesting to see where TWINSPEAK goes from here. They're excellent musicians with pitch perfect delivery, laying down their infectious grooves and melodies clean, clear and sharp as a sewing needle.
For some, the similarity to Modest Mouse may be a sticking point, but I've loved the bittersweet mixture of melody and lo-fi grit. TWINSPEAK perfectly captures the dichotomy of living in a seaside town, proving, yet again, that Australia is an essential source of exciting and innovative guitar rock.
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