"Gentleman," PSY's follow-up to "Gangnam Style," has already made history.
The New York borough of Brooklyn has once again given birth to a quirky indie release in the form of Twin Sister’s debut full length In Heaven. The five-piece formed in 2008 in Long Island, and have since gone on to release two EP’s prior to In Heaven. Unlike their Long Island compatriots Twisted Sister, Twin Sister choose to take a smoother path with their production, providing a collection of songs that can be best described as “headphone music”.
That quip is meant with the best intentions, as there are enough peaks and troughs on In Heaven to maintain a high level of interest throughout. Opener Daniel welcomes the listener into an ambient and dreamy world. This sets the album up to be a slow-moving, ethereal collection of bouncy pop songs. Interestingly, most of the more ambient moments come in the first half of the album, and provide In Heaven with the chance to build into something breezier later on.
Kimmi In A Rice Field and Luna’s Theme hold the middle of the album together beautifully, with the former presenting a lush and grandiose anthem rich in synth flourishes and dramatic production, not too dissimilar to the work of compatriots Active Child. Much of the album contains these dark, electronic influences, but in contrast, the songs are performed with a greater deal of optimism, making it hard to distinguish definitive meanings in each song. That’s where tracks like Space Babe, although musically unique compared to other compositions on In Heaven, can appear as more of a throwaway track lacking any thoughtful lyricism.
Lead singer Andrea Estella possesses the perfect slacker voice, if there is such a thing, one that is especially evident on more musically upbeat number Saturday Sunday, a song about the joys of a weekend being lost when things become hard. Likewise, standout track Stop, a story of uncertainty and vulnerability, is brilliantly performed with a slinky bassline, pedal-infused guitars and a bouncy rhythm that dares you to ignore it. It is clear to see that Twin Sister are at times scared of what they might say, but musically do not confine themselves to mediocre songwriting.
In Heaven at times comes across as what Fleetwood Mac or The Mamas & The Papas would produce if they had access to electronic quirks and computers filled with effects. Twin Sister provide a delightful assortment of pop music here, creating a sound that knows when to lift itself up and bring itself down at the right moments. It is ultimately a collection of observations pieced together by some lush and at times, very grandiose production elements (which the band also takes sole responsibility for). In Heaven demonstrates this band have a bit of an edge over their Brooklyn counterparts, something hard to find in an overcrowded scene like theirs.