At first breast, Twinstars' Dovetailing oozes with youthfulness and energy and ambition, and after repeated listenings these impressions compound, shedding most qualities and gaining few. There are passages on this record that are promising, and there are accomplished performances here as well. But in the end, little of it adds up to much. I feel charitable and sympathetic to the group, and that is the worst sentiment an album could evoke in a critic.
Beginning to listen to Dovetailing, one can find little to fault in Twinstars' marksmanship. But after a bit, not only does the target feel misjudged, but the means of getting there begin to grate. There is an urgent tone to this music, but its a lot of sound and fury amounting to very little. The drumming of Adam Holly is expert, but it is tastelessly overwrought, hitting more high hats than Phil Collins in drum school.
Dovetailing by Twinstar is a finely produced and decently performed collection of a dozen songs that fall into a sort of post-Slint (but more accurately post-Radiohead) emo core. There is a seriousness, an angst, and a driving rhythm. There are delicately erected platforms at the beginnings of songs, there are alternating loud choruses to follow mild bits, there is tasteful guitar noodling, there are some well-placed piano parts, and there is a singer, Tim Hanke, who delivers most of these songs with a melancholy, blankly redundant style that ultimately knocks ones ears to the floor with boredom. Whether he's wailing like Corey Glover, wailing like Elvis Costello or wailing like Ian MacKay, Mr. Hanke is always wailing. He's got a decent wail, but its ill-employed herein. There's little to inspire in the lyrics on this album, and little in the singing to get you interested anyway.
Twinstar fails to craft a serious experience for the listener on this album because the group fails to understand the elements necessary for serious art. I cant cry for this stuff, but it asks to be cried over from the first note to the last. I cant enter these stories as I cant enter their oxygen-free arrangements. I certainly cant laugh at these stories because there isn't a lick of humor to be found here. When drama and seriousness weigh heavily on a work of art, then it is incumbent on the artist to make the drama legit. When the sentiment seems merely borrowed, then it is cliché. In fact, borrowed sentiment is the keystone of cliché.
These boys must be young and full of enthusiasm, but like a kid brother all hung
up on a puppy crush, I want to lean in and plead: "Dont worry...there will be
other bands...this will just be a silly foggy memory someday..."