|Vampires With Dreaming Kids
Color Your Life
||17 September 2010
||Double Six (Domino)
The evocation of dreams has been a preoccupation in the soundscapes of many indie bands. Some can portray atmosphere but few succeed in creating such lush and beguiling pop melodies as Brooklyn quintet Twin Sister have in the process. The release of their two EPs Vampires With Dreaming Kids and Color Your Life bares the results.
The four track Vampires... signals the attentions of a band that may hold such indie darlings as Bjork, Stereolab and Cocteau Twins close to the records of their youth. Judging by the EP this can’t be too far from the truth. Hazy trippy pop songs with a dark underbelly resonate throughout.
This slim volume announces itself with the vaguely sinister 'Dry Hump'. It plays off the sun drenched languor in the music and the vocals and catches the listener off guard with some coquettish lyrics delivered so innocently "If you’re all alone, bring around your bones and pay me".
The heaviest song on the two EPs is the anthemic 'Ginger'. The chiming guitars ring like those on Cocteau Twins records; the rolling rhythms compliment Andrea Estella’s cherubic and soaring choruses. For a band so new this is exactly the sort of thing that can capture the imagination of the indie scene and beyond.
The closer 'I Want A House' emphasizes a naive endearing quality. The blunt phraseology reveals an easy and breathy groove not unlike Nico at her tamest.
The first EP delivers a brief but varied portfolio of Twin Sister. They announce themselves as being very capable of mixing interesting oblique lyrics with melodies but most importantly they achieve all this through a highly seductive and atmospheric tone. The audience are left baying for more and the second EP quickly capitalises upon the initial morsel.
Color Your Life is more cohesive and even more gauche and distinctive than its primary sibling. All the good parts of Vampires With Dreaming Kids are replicated and deepened on the second effort.
The rolling drums and subtle selection of keys on 'The Other Side of Your Face' could fit in perfect to a soundtrack of long summer treks across mountains and over streams. It’s that ambient.
The production and mix flows beautifully from one track to another. Track one drips seamlessly into track two. The keys help launch the warm vapour of the lush yet simple vocals on 'Lady Daydream'. And away once more the listener is transported across the sonic landscape of bright blue skies.
Despite a never ending shoe gaze sound Twin Sister has much more going for them than just the trippy factor. The funeral beginnings to 'Milk and Honey' lead on to a simple yet mantranic dirge within. Its strange emphasis and blunt low key delivery unsettles the listener from their blissful aural dream.
"I think it’s time to buy you a suit"
'All Around and Away We Go' has been bandied about as a great pop song and is further indebted to the back catalogue of Stereolab. Although in reality this is the only misstep in the entire set. The song runs aimlessly around in circles. The vocals are in danger of drifting off in to oblivion through all the husky breathiness and ambient electro backing. This could honestly be dinner party territory.
Any risk of a fall into wallpaper noodling is cast aside by the emergence of a “filler” song of hypnotic and sinister proportions. 'Galaxy Plateau' has no reason to be in an EP that showcases a new band for an increasingly fickle listenership. Hypnotic wind tunnels roll through electronic textures. This is a sound that would not be out of place in a Tarkovsky film. Natural effects combine with a digital artifice. The funeral chiming emerges and you are transported almost immediately somewhere different. This may be of significant importance to an understanding of the artists. States of listening and the ability to evoke various tones in colour and rhythms may be paramount in terms of the bands burgeoning creations.
The two short sets are very different creatures and each have their individual quality but what they do have in common is the careful and thoughtful production. It is not there to cover up any flaws, the songs are guided by the instrumentation and vocal talents of the band and the atmosphere is layered to amalgamate with some dark/light and brilliant pop songs.
If this much thought, arrangement and inspiration has gone in two EPs then the omens can only be great for the future. Vampires With Dreaming Kids and Color Your Life come highly recommended and should fill the time and whet the appetite for a full length album. Dream on Twin Sister.
- Tim Gannon