I want to pick apart the name of Edmonton band Twin Library; I want the title of the group to reveal some Victorian wisdom, some ghostly hint behind the magic of Dorian Gray. But that’s me getting greedy with a name, denying the music to be what it is: really compelling indie pop produced through lo-fi engines like only a veteran group can.
The band have put out ten releases, and their newest, Historical Tumblers, is a hefty collection of music. At times chiming with tough rhythms, and at other moments, quite content to let bittersweet melodies drip slowly, note by note, the album bridges the space between anti-folk and bedroom rock. There is a great deal of similarity with Twin Library’s previous release, They Were Marked as Targets. The overall approach to songwriting on the two albums share a similar speed, but the specifics are almost conspiratorial: the opener for Historical Tumblers follows the same heavy backbeat as the final track on They Were Marked, “There’s Always an End” (both songs feature samples of dialogue as well, betraying an intentional twinning of the tracks).
The new tunes contain very little sonic material — a refreshing approach to gloomier lyrical content, which is so often arranged by many bands in overly dramatic ways. “A Cruel Rodeo” has the Canadian lilt of statements that end like questions, and tilts with vocals that will keep any latter day Jesus and Mary Chain fan contented — or, you know, folks that like music. The lyrics on “Right Around the Wrong Time” are a delicate of poem, and the lead guitar line that fills the space between verses is a muted powerhouse. “Decades in the Dead Museum” is a squall of tex mex goth. And the different places that “Warmer Skeletons” will take listeners is truly inspiring.
There’s a lot of life in Historical Tumblers. It feels like a record made by folks that love the multiple effects that sound can bring to listeners. Subtle touches are all over the album. Touch it for yourself, and see what all the fuss is about.
-Grayowl Point, April 2014