Twin Atlantic have come a long way since their inception. It’s coming up to 15 years since the release of their debut EP, A Guidance From Colour, and their sound in 2022 could not be more different. While some may whine, wishing for the old days of Free or Vivarium, constant growth is what keeps this Scottish band relevant. They stubbornly refuse to make the same album twice, each new release taking them further away from their beginnings, keeping them fresh and yet still maintaining foundations that caused us all to fall in love with them in the first place.
Fans may have been shocked and confused with the band’s artistic direction in the past but they have certainly never been bored.
Now officially a two-piece after the departure of long-time drummer extraordinaire, Craig Kneale, Sam McTrusty and Ross McNae continue to push the boundaries of their band and thus here we have it. Transparency.
You may have hit play on the album’s first single, Bang On the Gong, and wondered what the hell you were hearing. And quite rightly, too. The song is about as tongue in cheek as it gets – lyrically and sonically – and takes a little while to wrap your head around, yet I’d bet you any money that after a few listens, you’re happily donning your best Glaswegian accent and calling everyone a “cheeky wee shite” with absolute glee on your face.
And that’s what this album is – it’s gleeful. To an extent, anyway. The album’s third release, the social media scalding Get Famous, will inspire the TikTok star in all of us, but let’s not forget that Twin Atlantic are, fundamentally, an emo rock band and that stands to this day. Underneath the mask of the album’s upbeat singles sit songs that are darker and heavier than any they’ve released before, a fact that was never more clear than when McTrusty hit us with an acoustic version of the usually dancey One Man Party in his ironic Instagram promos for Get Famous.
This sneak peak showed us that while on face value, Transparency is set to be an absolute joy, there’s more lurking beneath for those who choose to explore its depths. Aside from the singles, tracks like Dance Like Your Mother will get you bopping along to a Twin Atlantic you’ve never met before but it’s a Twin you really bloody enjoy. Others, such as Haunt or It’s Getting Dark will cause you to be more introspective as the slower pace places a greater emphasis on the lyrics, but where the catchier tracks have more sombre context to be unearthed, it’s the intricacy in the very fabric of these slower tracks that demands to be unravelled.
This is Twin Atlantic as you’ve never heard them. Transparency is bold. It’s a leap of faith into a rocky ocean without a lifeboat but somehow, just somehow, they’ve found themselves a wave and they are riding it expertly. A perfect balance of light and dark – of not taking yourself too seriously and in what feels like the same breath, desperately pulling apart your self-worth – this album will undoubtedly polarise Twin Atlantic fans. But if you were expecting a repeat of their earlier material then you simply haven’t been paying attention. This is a band that will always speak their truth and if that doesn’t live up to your expectations of who they should be then trot on. The only one missing out is you.
Overall Score: 9/10
Song Writing: 9/10
Overall Production: 8/10
Pros: A new side to Twin Atlantic – something for every mood.
Cons: Only 10 tracks?!
Transparency lands on Friday 7th January.