“I love all of your original material!” is the opinion expressed by Francis Rossi of Status Quo regarding Twister. Now, it doesn’t really matter what side of the fence you sit on with regard to with the Quo. The fact that Rossi’s your typical grumpy old uncle and doesn’t pass compliments easily means one at least ought to find out what the fuss might be about.
“Everything that has happened to us personally and professionally as a band over the last five years has created these songs. Every single track is a little piece of us poured out in lyrics, guitars, bass, and drums. From heartbreak and frustration to joy and elation this album epitomises what we are as a band and sets the precedent of what we want to achieve,” vocalist and guitarist Stevie Stoker remarked.
Alongside him the band features Jake Grimes (Guitar & backing vocals), Ryan Lee (Bass & backing vocals), Jack Corbett (Drums & backing Vocals) but someone’s also playing keyboards on this record.
Truth to tell it’s often hard to put your finger on just what they’re aiming for, although whatever it is it’s often catchy as Hell. Its rocks, but it’s also got a variety of modern pop flavours on offer. The songs are expressed if not anger then frustration. They’re young, that’s what we should expect, and I don’t mean that in a patronising manner, well not completely; it’s that their concerns aren’t completely articulated, more the pent-up exuberance of late nights, not enough money and falling in and out of love can preoccupy one to the point of near-insanity (or at least as I recall).
Let’s start with finding some meaning to all this with Side 1 of the vinyl version, or Side A as they call ‘em now apparently… Back in the day those were reserved for singles only, denoting the B-side was the song they weren’t expecting to have a hit with, whereas vinyl was numbered to account for running order only and all songs were intended to be of equal value. Ah, I’m pulling the aging old rocker pose, I’ll try and refrain…
Pounding percussion gives way to a Gothic environment as keyboards resound churchlike on ‘We Are The Cursed & Corrected’ before rocking in a manner Queen wouldn’t find offensive while the lead guitar borrows the melody line to Taylor Dane’s ’87 hit ‘Tell It To My Heart’ and makes it work.
Drums come over loud and proud during the beginning of ‘Save Us Yourself’, but it’s the first of some interesting but understated shifting bass lines tumbling to and fro that really catch my ears. We also become aware choruses go over in a big way for this band, and lyrically we’re probably going to be discussing the dissatisfaction the lads feel they have with their lives, and I am either about to enter a grumpy old man “Get a hold of yourself!” phase or begin to sympathise. We’ll see.
With ‘Young & Affected’ there’s much melodrama in the music’s arrangement, while not quite prog rock it certainly dips into art rock before a steady threatening riff takes dominance between a more euphoric chorus hook. ‘Natural Survivor’gets the first actual guitar solo on the album, and again the bass player catches my attention, bobbling and weaving about all over the place like a young Pete Way giving it some. Come to think of it, the lyrics, wouldn’t be out of place on an early UFO album but the music in general is a different kettle of fish. With ‘Trees’ there’s a more Van Halen-type harmonic touched riff at play as the bass flops and back flips everywhere, and yet the song itself is pure power pop and makes me think of The Buzzcocks.
Something of a departure is the slow pounding frustrated amour of ‘Wild & Lonely (Fingers Crossed)’ before this here Side A goes for some US-style AOR in Trading Hearts’ before assorted ear worm-riddling melodies penetrate deep. The subject of love persists here, but it leaves you wondering, is the singer besotted or about to become a stalker?
The album’s first single, ‘Call To Arms’,opens Side B. It’s thumping rock with keyboards freaking away in the background, and some big screams come the anthemic chorus as guitars crank out loud.
There’s a wistful somewhat early 60s appeal to ‘Mystery’. It features acoustic, piano and voice busking along with a danceable soundscape vibe. ‘Feeding Frenzy’shows they’re as much influenced by the Ed Sheerans of this world as being wannabe poodle rock throwbacks but ‘Monroe’delivers tuneful distortion while singing about treated bad but needing someone so much. It goes straight into ‘Fist Fight By The Waterside’ with its echoing riffed rock where the mangled themes of life in the fast lane for the young and disenchanted seem to collide. Is this a song of violence for violence’s sake or jealous affairs of the hear that result in such actions?
Perhaps ‘64 White Lies’delivers the answer to that one, being something of a # denouement of an overall acing album theme as speeding arpeggio riffs break out into a widescreen story of life on the street like a millennial version of Brando in The Wild One.
Perhaps more aptly it’s West Side Story, all flick knives at dawn over lost loves played with an AOR wounded heart? Perhaps they take me back to a year in my own youth I’d rather not recall clearly. Whatever, they’re songs that are played with earnest angst, feeling and self-belief as only the young can, and they’re played well.
Twister – Cursed & Corrected is released on Friday 13th November onCD, black vinyl and red & black splatter vinyl and available from Off Yer Rocka Recordings by clicking here.