Sunday, January 30, 2022

Twin Atlantic Deliver a Completely New Sound with ‘Transparency’

Twin Atlantic are a Scottish alternative rock band from Glasgow. They’ve been on the scene since 2008 and released their first album in 2011, earning a reputation for themselves as one of the UK’s most exciting live bands. 

Singer and guitarist Sam McTrusty, a new parent stuck in isolation, and bassist Ross McNae paired up with producer Jacknife Lee and created a chaotic album that is unlike anything they have ever done before. 

Despite dealing with losing their drummer, Craig Kneale, the band has released something that could propel their career with that hit they’ve been looking for.

The group's sixth studio album Transparency has thrown up a huge middle finger to expectations with its mix of personal rants and observations, mirroring familiar experiences of frustration. It encompasses candid lyrics and a carefree, playful, genre-jumping sound. Unlike their previous radio-safe rock sound, this record spans from spoken word to glam-rock to power pop ballads, touching on subjects of anger, self-deprecation, loneliness, and social media.


The opener ‘Keep Your Head Up’ provides the mantra for not giving up, but it is delivered in a solemn electropop styling. It’s almost like putting 2014 Ed Sheeran lyrics with his current sound. It’s an absolutely bonkers start to an album where the rest of the sound appears to be video game inspired. This big leap starts with ‘One Man Party’, an ode to the power of self-belief gives off glam-rock vibes with fun, party-going lyrics. The video game tendency peaks with ‘Get Famous’ and ‘Young’, both of which are heavily layered numbers discussing the life of an influencer, desperate for attention and social media fame.


The pace dies down a bit with ‘Haunt’, an anthem of self-depreciation with lyrics like “Am I even good enough / Good enough for you?” but underscored by frantic synth beats. ‘Dance Like Your Mother’ is the instant classic here. The synth is less frantic and leans towards a more glam-rock sound. It has almost a Prince style about it with some funky background vocals.


Bizarre lyrics takeover with ‘Dirty’ in a very loveable way. This tune about “things that on the surface are great, but have a darker background” the singer states in a press release, is the most similar to their usual sound, it’s very rock and roll and will probably be the most fun one to see live from this album. This off-the-wall lyricism continues with ‘Bang On The Gong’ but it recalls earlier retro video game sounding tracks on the album. The closers include ‘It’s Getting Dark’, a token piano ballad, and ‘Instigator’, which has the familiar rock sound with a big pop chorus perfect to tap your toes to.


Although the album is a bit unpolished, it’s exploding with personality and unashamed silliness. It’s their weirdest, funniest, and most appealing album yet. The production is packing layers upon layers, but the fun and often self-aware lyrics make for an interesting combination. It’ll be undoubtedly fun to see Twin Atlantic in concert and I hope to see them continue with this sound experimentation. The band’s growth over the past couple of years is thrilling, allowing them to shine creatively.


Hope Orr


Image: Twin Atlantic ‘Transparency’ Official Album Cover

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