Album Review: Twin Atlantic – Great Divide

By on Friday, 22nd August 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Glasgow-born foursome Twin Atlantic have always walked on the poppier side of the alternative rock road. Nowhere near heavy enough to share the sidewalks with the likes of Biffy Clyro and far too prone to a spate of jazzy piano – take ‘I Am an Animal’ as case in point – to brush shoulders with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age. Yet with their rock credentials on show, they’re still keeping well clear of the likes of Snow Patrol and Travis.

I was never really one to question their rock credentials, but after the release of ‘Heart and Soul’, I felt a swift check over their authorisation was in order to allow them access to the venerated Alt-Rock circle. ‘Heart and Soul’ is a bold statement, it’s not exactly the most subtle in the message conveyed – “When you open up your heart and your soul / take my love and never grow old, yeah / open up your heart and your soul” – and after a few listens, it did sound rather formulaic. However, to release a single after your breakthrough album that strikes such a tangent from what’s expected from the band is about as courageous a statement as you can make with the band in its infancy.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlpZ8z1bNfk[/youtube]

Their new album released this week, ‘Great Divide’, feels a bit schizophrenic. There are light hearted numbers like ‘I Am an Animal’, which feel like Beatles-inspired pop bouncers, whilst ‘Hold On’ and ‘Cell Mate’ both have all the hallmarks of balls out guts or glory arena rock. It’s in these big, kilts up charge the English moments where Twin Atlantic are at their best (yes, I’ve gone full Mel Gibson in Braveheart). OK, so Sam McTrusty may not be painting his chest, swinging his cock around and screaming, “they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” But ‘Cell Mate’ is an absolute stormer, with a stomping riff and a huge chorus of “Don’t let me down / from so far away/ ’cause I’m you’re cell mate / yeah I’m you’re cell mate”, where McTrusty, Barry McKenna, Ross McNae and Craig Kneale do their best to talk champion fraternity and put the boot in to the bonus-grabbing, office dwelling bourgeoisie. Their sentiment, not mine (I worked in a bank once).

‘Brothers and Sisters’ (watch it here) is one of McTrusty’s most poignant pieces of songwriting and is certain to be a hit with the already enamoured Radio 1-ati – especially as Fearne Cotton, Zane Lowe and Greg James are all already drooling into their respective buckets, which they’ve of course used for drool after their ice bucket challenge, after listening to ‘Great Divide’. The more timid of the tracks, in particular ‘Rest in Pieces’, do feel slightly clichéd and almost forced. The four-piece are certainly at their best when they’ve got their amps turned up to eleven and are going for a solid bit arena sized cock-rock.

That’s where the disappointment in ‘Great Divide’ lies, as it feels like an album with, to forgive the pun, but a Great Divide of its own. It’s a record from a band, that are almost having a post-university, quarter-life crisis. They’ve had a great time touring and promoting the incredibly successful ‘Free’ and now they’re stuck at home deciding what exactly they want to do with themselves. Sadly, like most people suffering from their own quarter-life crisis, they will probably have to learn from their mistakes here; the clichés are overdone and all too obvious. But, there’s solace in some of the Foo Fighters / Bon Jovi-lite stadium rock they’ve clocked up. They may not have found a niche, but hopefully when they tour and festival the bejesus out of this material they’ll get to the ‘Heart and Soul’ (pun #2 of this review) of where *they* want to be going. I don’t think it’s the soppy cliché ridden ballad route, and I don’t think they want to go that way either.

6/10

Twin Atlantic‘s third album ‘Great Divide’ is out now on Red Bull Records. Catch the band on tour in the UK in October; all the details are this way.

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