THE TWISTETTES - ‘A STRANGE PLAY’ - A C. T. Herron Review

I left that motherfucker in the chimp mask laying in a pool of his own blood and ranked up to 170, the red lights of police sirens bathe the dashboard red for a second as I slam the pedal to 80mph, bank a grassy knoll harshly and temporarily take flight, right over two bewildered cop cars, landing with a bone-crunching thud and a cringeworthy grinding of the gears, I roll and land in a handbrake turn, step out the vehicle, shoulder my RPG, and let a missile fly… WhooooooooshKaboom! The two discombobulated  cop cars go up in a mushroom cloud of orange flame and black smoke and my car’s a write-off too! A few bullets from newly-arriving law enforcement graze my shoulder, but I’m off over the edge and diving headfirst into a river with gunfire whistling past my ears… 

Am I playing GTA5? No, I’m listening to the new Twistettes album… Okay, I’m listening to it on repeat while I play GTA, but what better soundtrack to all this destruction and carnage than the gear-grinding, metal-splitting, chord-churning cacophony of the sisters from the Kingdom of Fife (although Glasgow has gladly adopted them too). 

Only the Twistettes will do for plummeting down a steep race track at 180mph in a rocket-powered car, slamming through a loop the loop, and in the process destroying two opponents in twin explosions to the left and right. Boom! Boom! ‘Jilt The Jive’ has been my soundtrack over the last two years to every bank robbed, every head sniped, and every helicopter blasted into fiery oblivion with a deftly-aimed rocket, and today, ‘A Strange Play’ takes up the baton as my soundtrack to walking Armageddon. 

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And indeed, apocalyptic rock is what we have here, a genre staffed only by those artists that hit the nail on the head, not music to relax to in a lavender bath, music for flaming skulls raining down out of the sky…  

When you review a band once, they’re good, when you review them twice they’re really good, well the Twistettes have racked up a record amount of reviews from the Gonzo Div. Lindisfarne, Audiosoup, Mugstock, Kelburn, their album launch and an album review. Making this my seventh article inspired by them, the mark of an extraordinary band to have so much to say about them. 

They hold, in my mind, many titles, one of the best bands in Scotland, one of the best live acts you can see at this level, one of the best new and current punk bands in existence and one of the best female groups in the world today! As well as being the loudest band in the world since Motorhead are no more.  

The Twistettes are turbulent tornados – turbo-charged tremendous tunes; tumultuous, transcendental, typhonic, tortile, tonitruous, to a tee.   They’ve found a formula and they’re sticking to it, the formula is to blow your head off like a cop in GTA, a twin-loaded shotgun, bass in one barrel, drums in the other, punk and grunge is their gunpowder. 

In ‘Strange Play’ the girls have truly mastered the art of punk rock. Deliciously lavish servings of it -like there’s yer’ fuckin’ dinnah’, choke on it! Soaring singing, haunting melodies, electric soundscapes, gang vocals, and more attitude than a female Johnny Rotten full of PCP on a bad day… Surprisingly, this album is even more fuzzy, even more rough, even more “garage” than its predecessor! Something about the Twistettes screams “NIRVANA!” at me, I wouldn’t make a direct comparison but certainly some of Cobain and co.’s earlier punkier ‘Bleach’ material lends itself to it. 

It’s not all breakneck runaway velocity like a ten minute police chase through the streets of Los Santos - ‘Hands on the Table’ is a tribal, almost acapella offering with atmosphere, as the sisters hauntingly invite you to “waste away with me”. The bass makes a few appearances, but this track is mostly feeling and it has it in spades. ‘Raise a Fist’ instantly gave me that notion where I wanna just dive mohawkfirst into a moshpit and lose my shit (literally, my phone, my shoes and my wallet and everything). The power packed in Jo’s lungs is prodigious, and has to be to match the decibel level of the band. 

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That deep-down and dirty bass-grunge that Jo delivers from her guitar is a trademark of the Twistettes’ sound, as well as Nicky’s thunderous percussion, if you’re only gonna have two instruments in your band you wanna play them as good, loud and fast as you can, and the Twistettes never fail to accomplish that! ‘State of Affairs’ is another angst-ridden atmospheric slice, this time with a socio-political slant, and Jo’s dolorous vocs building the tension like a tightly-wound bass string before it snaps and takes your eye out. 

Quite a dark album really, but uplifting in its vigour. Epic opus ‘Trick of the Trade’ is a stand-out song for me, with its vicissitudes and its underlying message. The dirgy ‘I Kneel’ is verging on heavy metal, if it wasn’t for the poppy interludes, well, not so much pop as just soulful. Ending with a perfect juxtaposition of sounds, vibrating bass, clashing cymbals, this is a storming, flashing, tempest of a final track, aggressively emotive and shockingly heartfelt. 

The Twistettes didn’t go techno, or add any extra instruments like a keyboard for ‘Strange Play’, they delivered the sound we all know and love, they’ve gained a great army of fans over the years, in their relentless gigging, and with their original sound and ear-destroying live sets they’ve blazed a trail all over Scotland and they’ve started a few fires abroad as well. 

Their superlative 4 Non Blondes cover didn’t make the new record, I guess they’re saving it for the live sets, which is a good move probably, who needs covers on an album when you’ve got this many good original songs… (Okay, maybe as a hidden track woulda been good!)  

Their first album launch was one of the best gigs of this era of music in Scotland, the second is sure to be even better, with new songs, new fans and a plethora of mighty support in the form of; The Girobabies, The Honey Farm, Quotes of the Dead and Leyla Josephine, with an afterparty at the 25% Club with Alabama 3’s Rev. D.Wayne! Friday 14th September at Stereo… I’ll seeya’ in the pit! 

You can watch the video for single ‘Weird Me’ here (featuring an appearance from Gonzo Division’s resident chemist Robert Goldie! And it really doesn’t get any weirder than that man!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LC0mSulxJs    

Tickets for the live launch available here https://tickets-scotland.com/events.html?event_method=viewevent&event_id=ef5dc279-ad25-11e8-9211-22000b754a1f or here https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Glasgow/Stereo/The-Twistettes-Album-Launch-Party/13303254/  

Album is available here https://thetwistettes.bandcamp.com/album/a-strange-play-2  

Follow The Twistettes on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thetwistettes/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/TheTwistettes  

He dragged himself out of the murky waters and climbed, dripping wet, into a stolen police car, tossing grenades from the window he sped off into the conflagration of the sunset horizon, laughing manically and ducking the errant bullets of LSPD’s finest, the splintering windshield showering him in shards of glass. He put ‘Strange Play’ back to the beginning, and reloading his semi-automatic he pushed the pedal to 80mph as ‘Captain’s Kiss’ kicked in again… 

                                                                                                                                                                  CTH.