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coverpic flag US - Pennsylvania - Full Moon 80 - 04/16/03

The Twin Atlas
Bring Along The Weather
Tappersize Records

The Twin Atlas is the duo of Sean Byrne and Luke Zaleski. Bring Along The Weather is their third album. They've been introduced earlier here at Luna Kafé with their second album Kitchen USA. The music by the band was then described as folk/pop inspired by late 60s/early 70s, with a touch of psychedelia. I guess folk-pop with a touch of indie-rock is a better description of Bring Along the Weather. What puzzles me the most is the fact that the duo seems obsessed with skateboarding. I thought that would be a guarantee for metal edges or hard hip-hop beats, whereas the Twin Atlas represents quite the opposite. To me they sound a bit like younger relatives of Simon & Garfunkel, keeping some family values alive. Well, there are traces of a Byrds' guitar here, Neil Young vocals there and a touch of newer acoustic or indie-rock duos, too (Belle & Sebastian or even Damon & Naomi, perhaps?). The songs are mainly slow with traces of melancholia. Others have a happier and twangier pop or rock edge.

Anyway, the Twin Atlas recordings are rough compared to the aforementioned duos. Like its predecessors Bring Along The Weather was recorded at home in Philadelphia on an eight track Tascam cassette machine, the kind of recording equipment that used to be very popular back in the 80s. But hey, the sound is not bad; in fact it suits the Twin Atlas' songs quite well. At first the album may seem a bit monotonous. But the songs are spiced with a mandolin here ("The Golden Seas"), a piano there ("Starting Line") and beautiful vocal harmonies throughout, and after a few spins the gems appear. Compared to their earlier albums the songs of Bring Along The Weather were recorded with a better microphone and given 'post-production embellishments'. As the band members state themselves: 'Goodbye hiss, hello mid-fi!' Only the two or three tracks with a complete set of drums suffer to some extent. The title "Show Me All" (warts and all) fits nicely!

"Make The Right Sound" was the first song to stand out, the ultimate catchy and classic guitar-driven pop song. After a few more spins "Sun Touches Down" (mellow melancholia), "Endings Away" (a great little discreet echoing guitar(?) adds a little something extra), "Church Bells" (check those harmonies at the beginning) and "Nowhere" (the most folksy of them all) etc. are revealed. Wonder how some of the songs might have sounded with female vocals ...

My main but minor objection is the lack of printed lyrics in the booklet. I couldn't find any on the Twin Altas' home page either. For one who only uses English as a second or third language and has slight hearing problems in addition, it's not that easy to catch the words. I guess printed lyrics would've made an easier way into the songs, too. "Save The Ransom" includes the prophetic line 'the war is over' which sums most of the album, really: welcomed and relaxed songs for hostile days like these!

Copyright © 2003 JP e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Twin Atlas articles/reviews: Good Light, Kitchen USA, Magic Car Wash, Sun Township.

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