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Twin Sister - Colour Your Life / Vampires With Dreaming Kids

Utterly charming and full of adorable moments.

Twin Sister’s Andrea Estella has the sort of voice that you’d like to take home, share cocoa with, and insist it accompanies you to bed like a furry hot water bottle on a stormy winter’s night. Whispery, yet powerful, it’s reminiscent of Lesley Feist’s breathy tone fused with Joanna Newsom’s wail if the latter was not so grating on human ears after more than a few minutes of exposure.

The Long Island quintet arrives on British shores in the form of two EPs – ‘Vampires With Dreaming Kids’, and their more recent offering, ‘Colour Your Life’. Despite being made less than two years apart, the band have clearly matured and refined their style from the demo-like qualities of ‘Vampires’ to produce a denser sounding and more consistent collection of songs. Whereas the older of the two EPs sounds a little unsure of itself at times, the latest release has a clear and refreshing musical direction. That is not to say the older effort is less than impressive, though.

‘Dry Hump’, the eloquently titled opener from ‘Vampires With Dreaming Kids’, could quite easily share a platform with Michael Cera and his indie movie chums. The chilling and strangely déjà vu-inducing refrain of “If you’re out alone / bring over your bones / and pay me / anyway you want to pay me” segues beautifully into the almost shoegazey ‘Ginger’, a track layered with reverb-laden guitars and anecdotes about the band’s native New York and, umm, “ginger kids”. The shaky, lo-fi production on ‘Nectarine’’s acoustic guitar carries more than a hint of The Tallest Man On Earth’s Shallow Grave and perhaps The Moldy Peaches in their less aggressive moments. In ‘Nectarine’ particularly, occasional male vocalist Eric Cardona sounds like if you took Jonsí to Justin ‘Bon Iver’ Vernon’s log cabin in the Wisconsin woods and left him there to brew for a few months. The EP concludes with ‘I Want A House’, which in a microcosmic fashion sums up ‘Vampires With Dreaming Kids’ – utterly charming and full of adorable moments.

‘Colour Your Life’ has more than a hint of Deerhunter about it – a noisier and more ambient sound than ‘Vampires’, this EP is an altogether more successful and complete achievement than anything Twin Sister have made to date. The EP is introduced by ‘The Other Side of Your Face’, a seven minute track packed with layered guitars, a selection of synthesised and acoustic noises, and Estella’s trademark softly-spoken vocals. Its sound manages to be big without incorporating the over the top production that has ruined so many good albums of late. Tracks like ‘Lady Daydream’ manage to convey a sense of nostalgia, describable, for want of a less pretentious analogy, as an almost autumnal sound: remember walking through the park on sunny October afternoons, crunching through piles of fallen leaves and filling your pockets with endless supplies of conkers? ‘Colour Your Life’ is the perfect soundtrack for this sort of inexplicably satisfying activity.

While arguably more consistent than the group’s previous work, there are fewer conventional pop song structures in ‘Colour Your Life’ – which is absolutely fine because this is no conventional pop record. It is, however, a little frustrating at times. Let’s face it; even the most hardened avant-garde adoring cynic will admit that, sometimes, you just want an anthemic chorus to sing along to. In a similar vein, the EP could live without the six minute, harmonium-and-general-atmospheric-noise heavy instrumental ‘Galaxy Plateau’ – it’s an inoffensive track, certainly, but it drags on. Its only merit is that it serves as an extended introduction to the wonderful ‘Phenomenons’.

Do not expect to be overwhelmed straight away with the EP. ‘Colour Your Life’, more so than ‘Vampires With Dreaming Kids’, requires some patience before the listener is truly rewarded. Listen to both EPs in the order of their creation. ‘Vampires’ may well be a better collection of songs, but it lacks the flow and consistency of ‘Colour Your Life’ – both are pretty worthy of your time though. This is a young and clearly very talented group of musicians who, even if the mainstream forever ignores, have every chance of taking the indie world by storm (and certainly deserve to).

Tags: Twin Sister, Reviews, EP Reviews

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