Twin Terrace – Plural
With cascading notes ringing out into infinity, a panoramic vista is the perfect canvas from Dublin-based one-man band Twin Terrace, aka Gavin Redmond. Calling to mind the atmospheric soundscapes of Brian Eno’s Apollo (a soundtrack for the moon landings), there is something earthier to the music of Twin Terrace, the rising chords of ‘All These Aisles’ calling to mind the ebb and flow of the ocean hammering against a windy harbour.
But it’s not all dreamy atmospherics. It’s obvious that Redmond has listened to his fair share of indie rock over the last years, and there’s more than a side helping of chiming guitars and soaring vocals, reminiscent of early Radiohead or Jeff Buckley.
They’re all obvious comparisons, and whilst that does suggest a degree of over familiarity, in this case it is no bad thing. Plural is a comfortable, if unsurprising listen, featuring songs that suggest real depth and maturity, in place of stylistic clashes and exploration. If you like your acoustic ambience with a hearty amount of Fleet Foxes or REM thrown in, Twin Terrace offer up an embarrassment of riches on Plural.
Farriers – Years Ago in Our Backyard
In recent years, there’s been a tendency to categorise everyone with an acoustic guitar as a folk musician. Farriers use acoustic instruments, and display a harmonic sensibility that is much closer to folk than rock, but one can only wonder what Pete Seeger would make of it. He famously (allegedly) pulled the cables out of the PA at Bob Dylan’s first electric performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, could he have imagined a fusion of rock, folk and country from Northern Ireland ever sounding this good?
The skill with which Farriers approach the various genres is startling. A luxurious blend of fiddle, pedal steel, acoustic and electric guitar, as well as subtle percussion, provide the ideal backdrop for the Appalachian harmonies to shine through. Rustic, but modern, Farriers have somehow managed to achieve a perfect fusion of roots music and contemporary songwriting. This music could only have been made in the last few years, but the debt it owes to the past is considerable.
‘Fickle Field’ is a standout track on this album, the yearning sound of the pedal steel guitar stretching out across the dustbowl, as a mournful fiddle weaves around the voices. Bands like Wilco and American Music Club took years to master this sound, but Farriers make it look easy, whilst adding their own unique voice to the songs. This is vital music, not made with the curate’s eye for detail or the archaeologist’s reverence for history, but with a storyteller’s heart. Absolutely essential.
Fighting With Wire – Colonel Blood
It’s as if Kurt Cobain never left us. Derry~Londonderry grunge pop three piece Fighting With Wire had better get used to the comparisons to Nirvana, because comeback single ‘Colonel Blood’ draws so heavily from the Seattle legends that it almost begs the question, 'Did you not notice that it sounds like Nirvana while you were writing it?'
But such an obvious reference point ignores the fact that 'Colonel Blood' sounds excellent, a ridiculously sneering look back to a time when music actually meant something more than just commerce and website hits. Sure, Nirvana were the most commercially successful band of their era, but they walked it like they talked it (to a large degree) and one can’t fault Fighting With Wire for aspiring to such lofty heights.
'Colonel Blood' might sound unoriginal, but if one can separate the startling degree of familiarity that browbeats the listener upon first listen, there lies a brilliantly melodic song, full of attitude and aggression. Now all Fighting With Wire have to do is remember how to sound like themselves, and their forthcoming second album – also entitled Colonel Blood – could sound very good indeed.