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“It’s official, guitar music is dead! EDM won and is smashing guitars on stage for the express purpose of breaking them, not being cool! Even our lord and saviour Kevin Parker has forsaken us!” It seems this kind of sentiment is uttered every five minutes by all those who still worship at the alter rock n’ roll. And to be honest, it sometimes feels like such a sentiment is true.
Big ballsy rock jams have gone belly up, and in their place a more subtle form of rock is taking shape. It’s the intelligent, surf rock inspired guitar pop. Like a dog with mud on its paws that sneaks into the house through the back door, you’re a little taken aback, but one look at that adorable face and you know you just want to cuddle up to that warm, fuzzy pooch. Stretching the metaphor a bit? Yeah probably, so let’s just awkwardly segue to TWINSPEAK and their debut EP Breakwell.
People still play guitars? You bet they do, and Breakwell is a fun bout of indie rock with TWINSPEAK.
TWINSPEAK is a Melbourne based troupe made up of five like minded mates who seek to emulate the smooth guitar pop vibes of the 60s surf rock era all the while making the sound their own on what is a pretty impressive debut EP. These kind of things are usually more miss that hit for a lot of bands. It’s either too much or too little, and while TWINSPEAK still have a ways to go they have churned out a pretty admirable little five track with Breakwell.
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What’s most interesting about Breakwell is its diversity. Tracks like I’m not Well and Hemingway nail that surf pop vibe, while Poor Aristocrat (who doesn’t love a good use of oxymoron?) is sexy as hell. Like strawberries dipped in chocolate sexy. It struts with style and with finesse. Those high vocals hit just the right spot. Roundong out the EP is Tome, the mandatory slow acoustic number it seems every band thinks they need to include. Is there a rock band manual that specifically states debut EP’s need to end on gentle acoustic song? Regardless Tome is actually a beautiful track, calm and reassured, it bursts forth in wailing guitar glory.
Such diversity makes for Breakwell to be a rather accessible EP for any fan of the rock spectrum, but it’s the lyrics that remain the most striking throughout the EP. They’re intelligent without being snobby and remains deeply personal, such is the case for track number two. Hemingway is more or less what the band have aspired to in terms of a balance of sound, a generous serving of catchy guitar pop with a hint of muscle in the bridge. “You’re tripping in all your catharsis/ Carving tunnels with bullets through the past” is the lyric that catches you off guard, an image that is visceral in a way you may not have expected.
Is guitar music dead? No true believer, it isn’t. It just took a new, more pop friendly form. TWINSPEAK is indicative of the movement of bands in Australia who are continuing to wield their guitars with pride, take the genre of indie rock and get it back into shape.
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