Album Review: Twin Atlantic’s “Free”
Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 13:11
After the criminally short 2009 debut mini-album "Vivarium," by Twin Atlantic, fans have been eagerly anticipating another release. Near the end of last April, the Scottish alternative rock group released "Free," satisfying this craving with thirteen enthusiastic, brightly polished tracks. To ensure that they captured the right sound on this effort, they enlisted the help of producer Gil Norton, who is known for his work with famous alternative rock groups such as the Foo Fighters, Pixies, and Jimmy Eat World.
Just as the title would suggest, "Free" is a fast, vibrant display of guitar-heavy rock music. Throughout the album, lead vocalist Sam McTrusty prefers to shift between traditionally singing and violently belting out the melodies. McTrusty applies his raw, yelling vocal style at precise locations in the songs, which greatly complements the traveling guitar riffs and the vicious beating Craig Kneale's drum set receives. This can be seen at its purest form in the songs "Edit Me," "Apocalyptic Renegade," and "Make A Beast Of Myself."
The album also has its calmer segments. In between the highly energetic title track and the aforementioned "Make A Beat Of Myself," the album takes an intermission from the fast-paced alternative rock with the song "Crash Land." For this song, the band put away their electric guitars and dusted off the acoustic guitar and cello. Twin Atlantic also slowed down their usual sound for the instrumental "Serious Underground Dance Vibes," which heavily channels post-rock influences. The song switches from melodious guitar droning to slowly decaying guitar riffs, eventually speeding up for a spastic, cathartic crescendo.
A good balance between the crazy and calm styles is the track "Eight Days," which follows the previously mentioned song. "Eight Days" opens with a few decaying guitar riffs, followed by a sludgy bass line and quick drum beat. After a few seconds, the guitar reintroduces itself and follows the beat into the first verse. The track features one of McTrusty's most addictive melodies, with an anthemic chorus that begs for the listener to sing along.
While "Free" is certainly full of catchy hooks, it lacks the overall gripping ability their previous power-packed effort "Vivarium" contained. This seems to be a downside of Twin Atlantic producing a longer release. However, the less favorable tracks are certainly not filler. For more information on Twin Atlantic, see their website at http://www. twinatlantic.com, their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/twinatlantic, or request their music on WPCD Champaign, 88.7 by calling 217-373-3790.