Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 18 - 04/12/98
No More 24
Sun Spot Records
Things are happening on the Norwegian west-coast these days. Over the last
year lots of bands from around Bergen have been fishing for fame and fortune
abroad. Libido moved to London, England and got themselves a record deal with
Fire Records. Peachfuzz also went to England, and was given a chance by the
Fierce Panda label. As was Tiny Too too (well, they - the 2/3 of the band with
Norwegian passports - are from Ålesund, quite some miles up the coast) who
also wander the streets of London. Now it's time for Twigs to come out of the
bushes, with their debut album, No More 24. Twigs, fronted by an English
singer/bass player, Katy Penny. Guitarists Finn Solemdal and Per S. Lie, and
drummer Morten Meland, make Twigs a foursome.
Actually Twigs made their debut in 1996, with Beast, a mini-album on
their own label. They've now been signed to Sun Spot, a Swedish label, which
makes the whole project even more international. Twigs present fuzzy, scraggy
noise-pop of the British indie-pop type. Ms. Penny has written all the lyrics,
while all the songs and arrangements are by Twigs. At first I was a bit sceptical.
Yes, fuzzed aggro-pop is usually my cup of tea, but as Twigs ran off with The
Island Song, and then went on with Filter and Lucky, I just
wasn't convinced. They seem so eager to let out all their energy at once, and
I think they now and then become a bit to hyper. Don't get me wrong here; I'm
not criticising their playing skills, because Twigs is a very tight band, with
skilled and talented musicians. Nevertheless, I sense some rashness in their
music, and it doesn't suit them all the time.
So it wasn't until the end of song four I raised my eyebrows: Two Way Muzzle,
with a near 3 minute long (or high) guitar-noise-postludium. Smashing! Postscript
To Her Letter (the first single-cut to promote No More 24) and Orchard
follows, and the latter is definitely my favourite track from this record. It's a
graceful and luscious song, that makes your feet start tapping, for then to force the
rest of your body into passionate dancing. Fruitful stuff! Four Phases is maybe
the fastest and most intense track on No More 24, and it's really rough and charmy.
Thankfully it is followed by the calm Dawn, so that you get to normalize your pulsebeat.
Then comes another hi-lite, The Present, reminding me a bit of The Wedding Present,
and quite something else compared to the arrangements and the dramaturgy in the rest of the
songs on this album.
As a conclusion, I must admit to like just about half of this album. I guess Twigs must
be a pretty cool live band, after doing plenty of gigs around Norway, and also touring London.
Probably with a steam that makes you jump and sweat for hours, as they launch a sonic attack
of distorted and fuzzed guitars, for then to calm down to a whisper just a split-second before
the audience roll over exhausted. They've got a certain potential, but I'm just not sure if
Twigs have shown what they're really good at yet.
Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen