The double-edged sword of contemporary, ubiquitous music releases on the Internet is that bands like Twin Guns are out there and you haven’t heard them yet. While a reviewer might use this line for many albums by bands recently discovered, “Scene Of The Crime” by Twin Guns, released in March 2011, is the one that inspired it.
The Twin Guns are extremely generous with the devil’s chord in the opening tracks of Scene Of The Crime, taking on a rockabilly-Black Sabbath tone that is almost too easy to get into… like a contract with the son-of-the-morning himself. Twangy guitar and corrugated sheet-metal roof thumping drums are continuous through the dusty tracks that Andrea Sicco and “Jungle” Jim Chandler laydown on their range, making spurs jingle-jangle through a backdrop of urban chaos that evokes a backroom punk show at Gooski’s (for Pittsburghers who know that effect from experience).
Vocals come through big, like old-timey tunes… listen for wailing and lamentation, as well as coyote calls. At first it is a bit off-putting, as the instrumentals are so pounding and jarring the ear looks for a clean line in the lyrics. However, by not finding a clearer tonic from the sound engineering of the voices the sound of Twin Guns has a consistency of grit and tormented musical structure that is satisfyingly unsettled (perhaps extending the theme of buttering up the listener for an unholy commitment to a deal with the devil). It also goes a long way toward selling the lonesome cowboy emotion that seems to drive the wagon onward. This trend comes to an apex, in well managed order, with track 4, “Safe,” when pedal effects on both vocals and guitars take you over a canyon cliff somewhere out in the unpopulated vastness of the west Rocky Mountains.
Instrumentally the album doesn’t stop inventing. For example, use of essential piano tones, coming over where the mind’s ear envisions rhythm guitar laying on top of the lead. Confessing a slight aversion to the overdrive effects of synthesizer and soundboard background sounds through the first four tracks, it all comes together for resolution in track 5, “Druggy and Suicidal,” which is every bit the homage to rock n’ roll stars burning out like meteors that the title suggests. This is immediately justified by track 6 (“One More Night Of Sin”) opening with a church bell beat that sets up a lead guitar packed with glissando & crescendo. Listen for super-subtle alt-surf guitar and arching vocal deliveries on what balances out as a mellower song compared to the first half of the album. This mellowness seems to groove-on into the remainder of the album… for moments, but then the moments are gone.
The whammy bar gets just ridiculous, in the best of ways, on the latter tracks. What’s more, there is a surprising operatic coolness to track 8 (“She Cried”), where a neo-Quadrophenia sound of the ocean waves opening and another lonesome, wild-west yodel ride out on another set of silky and surfy guitar waves. Some spoken word aspects accent the song with a sort of hipster-Meatloaf result that does more to make the listener replay the track than to cast doubt on the, at this point of the album “signature,” sound qualities that it has just condensed through the cochlea.
The album might be best for the big finish of the final track. Using a recording of a subway car taking off, and singing about the same, it seals the listener’s fate with a guilty pleasure-inducing familiarity that forces the question… is that a Kink’s song? …the Clash? …funky early, Peter Gabriel-era Genesis? …nope, it’s Twin Guns.
Scene Of The Crime by Twin Guns is out on reverbnation.com and many of your friendly Internet music peddlers.