Saturday, April 30, 2011

Album Review: Twin Atlantic - Free

The most trying part of a band's life cycle is the jump from EP (or in this case mini-album) to a full blown 11 to 13 song LP. This is when a band shows that they can make a strong, cohesive product or fall down to monotony. Twin Atlantic's debut Vivarium showed the ability to draw in listeners behind catchy riffs and hooks, but follow up Free often feels boring. At times, the band shows the ability to win a listener's full attention, but in the full scheme of things, Free will be soon forgotten.

Twin Atlantic won over many fans from their contagious, yet still technical tracks such as "Human After All" and "What Is Light? Where Is Laughter". Sadly, there really aren't any tracks that live up to those standards. Flat choruses as in "Apocalyptic Renegade", "Time For You To Stand Up", and "Yes, I Was Drunk" really harm the album from the get-go, as that stretch of songs give an extremely poor early impression of the album. Testing out an instrumental interlude fails, as four minutes is far too long for band of this style to simply play ambient riffs.  The band also experiments with a heavier and darker sound with "Edit Me", "The Ghost Of Eddie", and "We Want Better, Man", only hitting successfully on the new sound with one of the three ("Edit Me"). On "The Ghost Of Eddie", vocal effects ruin the charm of Sam McTrusty's highly accented voice, as the attempt to give McTrusty a grungy tone backfired completely. The shouts and screams in the track as well as "We Want Better, Man" are poor and unnecessary, and simply move the band in the direction that many fans weren't hoping for.

The middle stretch of tracks "Free", "Crash Land", and "Make A Beast Of Myself" display the techniques that Twin Atlantic should have used much more often throughout the album. "Free" is the track most similar to the fan favorites from Vivarium, as the upbeat verses lead up to the powerful chorus, where McTrusty dominates with his strong vocals. "Make A Beast Of Myself" is another vocally centered track, as McTrusty hits his upper  register with little effort. But "Crash Land" is where Twin Atlantic hits in every such way, as beautiful cello played by Barry McKenna accents the acoustic guitars and McTrusty's voice bleeds emotion more than any other track the band has released so far, crying "And nothing gets better than memories/When all you have are memories for friends." In fact, this one song almost saves the whole album from being tossed aside.

But not quite. It's just too hard to save a thirteen song, forty-seven minute long album with just one excellent song and a couple other good ones. It almost seems like Twin Atlantic could have cut out three songs, making it a still decently sized full length. Instead, Free is mostly filler, and does not allow a listener to maintain full attention throughout the entire album. Twin Atlantic isn't doomed in their future, as even strong bands can create poor records. Hopefully, the band will grow from this debut, and bring together all the positive aspects shown scattered throughout Free to write the album we all know these Scots can produce.

Projected Score: 7.2/10

Album Stream


  1. 'Edit Me'
  2. 'Time For You To Stand Up'
  3. 'Apocalyptic Renegade'
  4. 'Yes, I Was Drunk'
  5. 'Dreamember'
  6. 'Free'
  7. 'Crash Land'
  8. 'Make A Beast Of Myself'
  9. 'The Ghost Of Eddie'
  10. 'Serious Underground Dance Vibes'
  11. 'Eight Days'
  12. 'Wonder Sleeps Here'
  13. 'We Want Better, Man.'


  1. Completely agree with everything said

  2. Seems like a pretty high score for something you say has only a couple good songs. Would've expected something in the 5-6 range based on your review.

  3. I grade based on a school scale, which is very similar to the scale. The album gets something like a low C, which is in the range I gave it. I also gave it a 2.5/5 on the 5 scale, which I feel is extremely different than the 10 scale.