US - New Jersey - Full Moon 161 - 11/02/09
The Twin Atlas
It's been some time since the last time I checked out The Twin Atlas. In fact, we've reviewed four of their previous recordings (follow the hyper links
backwards through our archives), as well as Sean Byrne's pre-Twin band Lenola's (Byrne also drummed with Mazarin, Matt
Pond PA, and a couple of other bands) excellent My Invisible Name. Let's check if the light is good.
Good Light saw the light of day some months ago, as it was released in August. The Twin Atlas (from now, TTA) boys, AKA Sean Byrne and Luke Zaleski,
still work together from each their separate corner of New Jersey. They are collaborating their musical output to a united unit via improvisations ping-ponging
between the two of them together, with Byrne adding the finishing touch, by adding vocals and necessary instrumentation and assorted sounds. According to their
Myspace site, their influences count: "...coffee, low-impact skateboarding, snacks, naps". Sounds like a relaxed musical relationship.
As on earlier recordings influences are also including sympathetic bands like Yo La Tengo (YLT) and Teenage Fanclub (TFC), as well as the inevitable 60's link,
The Byrds. Maybe also the 1970's as seen through the glasses of Big Star. As the band themselves states in the press sheet: Recommended If You Like: "sunset
drives, YLT, canned beer, TFC, vocal harmonies, coffee, Byrds, light filtering through the atmosphere, longboarding, Murmur, good vibes, chiming guitars, night
time bicycling, "Sentimental Lady"...". Is this last hint the Bob Welch song? Anyway, this is about pop harmonies, pleasing melodies, good atmosphere.
However, I don't feel that TTA score as high as they could've done. Something's missing to lift this album to the level of greatness. Yes, they are sympathetic,
and all that, writing and playing some fine tunes. But, I miss some roughness, I miss some edge to the songs and the overall sound. They simply becomes too
anonymous. Teenage Fanclub had this devilish catchiness, and Yo La Tengo have got this magic and magnetic introvert/extrovert, uh, dare I say... sex appeal.
Good Light is good, but way too light.
Copyright © 2009 Håvard Oppøyen