Twin Atlantic – ‘POWER’

By Yasmin Brown

The anticipation that bubbles up inside when you’ve been waiting over three years for new music from your favourite band is almost unbearable, yet fans of Twin Atlantic have made it through the worst of the drought, and their patience and loyalty has been greatly rewarded.

‘POWER’ is different – whether you’ve been a fan for two years or 10, you’ll quickly realise that it’s a wild experiment gone absolutely right – but everything that has ever made us love this Glaswegian band is still very much present. While shock may have rippled through fans with the release of singles ‘Novocaine’ and ‘Barcelona’, you need only go back to the start of Twin’s discography and listen to each of their albums in chronological order to be reminded that they have never played it safe.

The jumps from ‘Free’ to ‘Great Divide’ and then again to ‘GLA’ were sonically huge; still undoubtedly Twin but with one fundamental difference each time. What we see with ‘POWER’ is another one of those brave yet considered jumps.

With ‘POWER’, the deviation from the band’s earlier work hits you like a tornado all over again. Driven by synths and organically sampled sounds (spot the noise of a bin being kicked around a car park – I challenge you), these 10 tracks were made to encourage dancing, drinking, singalongs, and crying in a dark room lit only by blinding neon lights. And, as the final notes of closing track ‘Praise Me’ fade out, you’ll likely find yourself exhausted, drunk, hoarse and misty eyed – just as the band intended. 

This cohesion doesn’t stop at the sonic execution either. ‘POWER’ is an almost perfect name for this record for a number of reasons, but none more so than the way each track encourages you to think about various ways power can manifest itself, and how that can be both beneficial and dangerous – sometimes indistinguishably and at the same time. When combined with fierce bass lines, strong vocals and manic yet purposeful synths that fill your chest like a deep inhalation, you could easily say that no Twin Atlantic record has ever made so much sense. The execution of this record is faultless, with each track telling its part of a much bigger story, highlighting just how much thought has been put into making this music.

While achieving such coherence in art can sometimes result in monotony, ‘POWER’ is by no means boring or repetitive. There are tracks that – when played in isolation – shouldn’t even work together, particularly when it comes to the two intermissions that bind together the remaining eight tracks. These ‘interludes’, which are separated by two full-length tracks, could not be further apart in sound – ‘Mount Bungo’, a chaotic and manic 41 seconds of confused pandemonium and ‘Asynchronous’, a soft and ethereal keyboard/synth hybrid – yet when listening to the record in full, the journey from one to the next seems smooth and intentional, leaving no question as to how you got from A to B. 

And don’t think that because Twin Atlantic have travelled down a ‘dancier’ avenue that they’ve lost the ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ element of their music, either. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s not explicitly heavy like older tracks such as ‘The Ghost of Eddie’ or ‘No Sleep’, the synth-driven direction the band has taken is merely an addition to the sounds fans are used to hearing. Unpack each track and you’ll find that underneath it all is the Twin we’ve been loving since 2007, with dirty riffs, powerful drum beats and sexy bass lines that bring it all together.

Highlights come in the form of the two singles ‘Novocaine’ and ‘Barcelona’, but also in tracks that may initially find themselves underrated. From the groans and heavy breaths that precede strong self-reflective lines such as “I’m ready for the truth / but understand that I’m a liar too” in ‘Oh! Euphoria’, to the softer yet club-friendly ‘Ultraviolet Truth’ that sees layered vocals provided by an unnamed Scottish female, to the regimented beat and metaphorical ambiguity of the hymn-like ‘Messiah’, there is something amazing to be unearthed in every track. 

And yes, ‘Volcano’ is finally here, too, and yes, its catchy ‘made-for-radio’ finger-clicking and massive choruses are just as fantastic as we all remember from the distant festival memories we’ve been grappling onto for six months. In fact, they may well be better. 

For long standing fans, there has had to be an element of trust these past three years; trust that Twin Atlantic were, indeed, coming back and trust that when they finally did, it would be worth the wait. 

We’ve already ascertained that it absolutely is.

To new fans – welcome to the party.

‘POWER’ might not be everything you’ve been hoping for, but it is everything you never knew you needed from Twin Atlantic. This band has never been so alive, so smart, so authentic, or so free and it is oh, so sweet to have them back.

YASMIN BROWN

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