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Album Review
In Heaven

In Heaven
by Twin Sister

Domino Records

Review Date
22nd November, 2011
Reviewed by
Courtney Sanders

Full disclosure: I’m coming into this review with a negative bias towards the individuals in Twin Sister. After an email and phone interview failed to produce any responses of great depth or interest, I concluded they were a group of extremely boring people. Which is interesting because their debut In Heaven is not boring. Rather it's self-deprecating, three-dimensional and engaging, in other words all the things the band members are not as individuals. Which leads me to one conclusion: Twin Sister have poured so much into their debut they simply have nothing left to offer.

Exaggeration? Maybe, but In Heaven is certainly a coup. Utilizing the internet by releasing teaser tracks and offering up the album in its entirety for stream (partly still up over here) Twin Sister have garnered the kind of attention reserved for West Coast chill wave earlier this year. Which emphasizes another Twin Sister trait; they have tapped the current nostalgic zeitgeist at-source. In the clip for single ‘Bad Street’ director Dan Devine has front woman Andrea Estella arriving at a birthday party in a Cadillac, wearing vintage cat’s eye sunglasses and carrying a multi-tiered candy-coloured cake. The hues suggest the video was shot on Hipstamatic as does the vibe: party like it’s 1985. Videos like these only serve to cement Twin Sister’s aesthetic, and kudos to the band for painting a picture of themselves in lieu of decent interview responses. But does their sonic direction stack up?

Regarding nostalgia, most certainly. The production is clean and effortless, allowing the sonic nuances and lyrics the focus they deserve, presenting both a pleasant alternative to the D.I.Y efforts swamping detail of late and referencing the slick, eighties shtick they obviously hold close-to-heart. They’re also capable of anthemic pop, as ‘Bad Street’ demonstrates. A funk synthesizer line to rival the likes of !!! drives a melody that cleverly rides simple quirk without a chorus, while Estella’s vocal provide dual momentum and diversity. Alternately ‘Kimmi in a Rice Field’ is slow, drawn out and industrial; obtuse percussion and keyboard melody sit equally low in the mix while Estella’s vocals are again front-and-centre. The video clip appropriate reflects this song’s deal, too. Like the reliance on the loveliness of their front woman, In Heaven does suffer from the occasional one trick pony moment, but it’s symptomatic of being so on-message all the time rather than any obvious repetitive moments. Thematically Twin Sister don’t re-invent the wheel - they’re detailing the everyday. From romance to boredom, to boredom in romance, the band have selected a set of nuances they are personally familiar with and know their audience will be too, and In Heaven benefits from this honest, wholesome approach.

It’s difficult to fault an album that has wholly achieved what it set out too, as Twin Sister have done on In Heaven, regardless of how bad the band may be at interviews.


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