Release Date: February 17th, 2015
Label: Light Organ Records
Many contemporary bands eschew the fundamentals such as country, roots and rock in an effort to carve out their own identity. Twin River, however, embraces it all with complete abandon, secure in their own confidence that their unique creative selves will shine through. This is not temerity on their part, because they are absolutely right.
“Word to the Wise” provides a perfect case in point. It starts off in a thunder roll of surf guitar and then launches into some beautiful baroque-pop vocals by Courtney Ewan Bromley. When you examine each of the components of the song there is nothing particularly new or innovative, and yet somewhere between the rousing chorus and the classic hard rock guitar outro you are struck by that satisfying realization that somewhere in the synthesis Twin River has created something “fresh”.
The same can be said of virtually every song on the record. The band taps into a variety of genres including pop-rock, old-school country (think Patsy Cline), modern indie country (think Neko Case), but they bend them and twist them to their own purposes. The one exception perhaps is “He’s Not Real And He Ain’t Coming Back” which is purely and simply a gorgeous synth ballad in its own right.
For all of their obvious confidence, and despite the fact that they all members of other celebrated bands, Twin River does not come across as a pompous supergroup. For one thing, the music does not have that stadium “bigness” – it speaks to you in a very personal way. Even the reverb-heavy “Golden Man”, which is a 10 minute mini-epic, does not slap you in the face so much as slowly seep into your bones. Furthermore, they even approach the recording of the album like a garage band. The slight muddiness to the production is by no means a detriment — it is endearing and completely in keeping with the band’s tone.
Although this is essentially a Vancouver band it also has some strong Montreal connections, and it is hard to imagine a more perfect melding of the two music scenes in one place – an organic, roots-based core with self-conscious indie overtones.