Twerps – (Self Titled)
On the first listen, Twerps seem like a paradoxical band. They are derivative, yet imaginative. Seemingly drawing from the past as much as inspiring creativity for the present and future, finding a hole to place the Twerps in in the spectrum of Australian Indie Rock is somewhat difficult.
However, whether this is a good thing or not, firstly because there is a tendency to try and pigeon-hole groups in a genre in Australian music, and secondly because if the movie Holes has taught me anything it is that holes, in all forms, are a bad thing (I learnt most of my career and life lessons from the movie Holes), is beside the point.
What the latest offering from this Melbourne four piece mainly reminded me is that there is a difference between thinking and over-thinking about music. Sometimes it is best, nay essential, to simply just listen to the music and lyrics coming out of the speaker. On the album’s first listen I spent the majority of time trying to figure out what ‘kind’ of music it was, where the Twerps as a band fit in the overall scheme of things in relation to musical genres and where and how I should be taking in this album. Yet hours later I simplifying the process. I decided that I should instead focus on the music in a purely visceral manner and I should instead just take in the album with my ears (I was really over-thinking it).
It was with this process that I found Twerps to be just what they are, which is a very good band with incredibly catchy pop songs that are assisted greatly by their numbered genre influences. The band’s song structure and musicianship are often deceptively complicated, ironically, but this allows for the album to lend itself to many repeated listens.
As aforementioned, they are somewhat derivative, but it is definitely not a detractor. Instead they have taken the sombre and somewhat clandestine mood of the new-wave post punk bands such as Echo and The Bunnymen (best exhibited on the impressive opener Dreamin’), the soaring major chord repeated chorus’ of the Arcade Fire (best exhibited on the rapturous album closer Coast To Coast), and, the beachy guitar pop jangle of Real Estate and older bands like Pixies, which they employ with great effect throughout the whole LP.
What is most impressive however, is that Twerps make the difficult seem almost effortless. Taking the modus operandi of bands such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Twerps frustratingly appear to not even be trying too hard on this album, which makes it even more impressive when you consider some of the lyrical prowess or complicated musicianship that is exhibited on its concise ten tracks.
This is demonstrated best on perhaps the albums standout track, Who Are You. With a nice catchy guitar riff and the vocal seemingly lazily crooned onto the tape, the first impression of the song is not altogether striking. The chorus “we’ll get drunk we’ll get stoned, we’ll get high, we’ll get drunk” even plays further into the above contradiction. However first emerging as an uncomplicated sing-along tune with its memorable double tracked chorus complete with crowd chanting, it then emerges as a complex, lyrically dense counter culture comment song, and a perfect observation on the Twerps themselves as a band. They are Scott Fitzgerald in Flannies.
Twerps represent an emerging alternative music scene in Australia right now. The reason the scene is strong is because many bands are creating strong, complete albums that perform very well live. This full length effort is no different, and is a very strong showing by this emerging Australian band.