Album Review: Life After Ridge by TWIG (2008) Plastilina Records)


I have a high pressure job. Despite the fact that so many of my peers and colleagues who are exposed to a similar level of boardroom stress have suffered some sort of mental breakdown over the years ranging from mild anxiety disorders and bouts of depression to several instances of actual suicide. I manage to avoid this by being able to relax


My wife, who is undoubtedly correct (as always!), prefers to transform the word ‘relax’ into the word ‘lazy’. She feels it best describes the fact that I can sit for hours on my favourite armchair putting off the 1000 jobs she wants me to fill my weekends with, in favour of doing things I actually enjoy. I believe I am no more mentally unyielding than the next person. I am just able to re-charge, for my natural laziness will always deliver me back to work on Monday with the restoration of enough mental energy to ‘deal with it’. Yay laziness! 

One thing I cannot stand though is lazy journalism. Especially lazy musical journalism. Now obviously I do not include myself or my fellow bloggers as conveyors of this irritating evil. Predominantly we are not professional journalists, we are just fans of a band or genre who think we have something to say about something. As such when I slip into lazy musical generalizations I forgive myself instantly because essentially, I am just too lazy to bother devoting too much of my precious time to worrying about it. Yay laziness !
However, at the time of release of this album I found it extremely lazy when approximately 88.7%* of all reviews dismissed them as mere The Smiths copyists, whilst the other 11.3% of reviews dismissed them as Northern Portrait plagiarists, which was just a more adroit way of agreeing with the majority

*Please note that the percentages cited are completely fabricated. However, unlike the lazy musical journos and their sloppy The Smiths references, it should be noted that lies take at least a bit of energy to make up, for they are original products of the pernicious mind. Yay lies! (Perhaps not?).

So why do I believe that lazy journalism is apparent in such comparisons? Initially the answer lies in the fact that there are only two tracks that really could be classed as being close to The Smiths. The epic 8 minute long track At Work and at Home, is certainly extremely similar to a track such as These Things Take Time (from the 1984 Hatful of Hollow Compilation) with its repetition of the echoed despairing cry of the line Most People are Rude that exudes Manchester’s finest. Similarly the brilliant Close Up is the nearest they ever get to any semblance of Johnny Marr jangle.
At Work and at Home

Beyond these two tracks I am not sure there are any real reference points to The Smiths, other than the fact that vocalist Henrik Linden sounds a bit like a ‘forced’ Morrissey. In fact the genuine influences for this band / album are without doubt seen in abundance in tracks such as You Look Different #1, You Look Different #2, Constance and her Husband and most notably in the true stand out of the album, Indigo (see below) which is probably the most typical of what I shall call the ‘Eddie tracks’.

In Indigo the affected ‘search for Morrissey vocal inflections’ are muted substantially and replaced with a warmth and roundness to the vocals that stop just sort of the sort of ‘smarm’ that accompanies the worst of sophisti-pop. It is a Gorgeous George mid 90’s era Edwyn Collins sound that is substantial and fey in all the correct proprortions, just like the great man himself.

However, like the Collins mid 90’s output, it is the flirtation with this sophist-pop that gives the sound an essence that takes it that step further than the standard mid to late 2000’s jangled indie pop that was struggling so badly to compete for attention with the new Postcard Records wannabees. This extra quality is further emphasized by the Orange Juice style flutter and crinkle of the melodies that seemed to unfold repeatedly in different guises. 

Indigo

Twig may have only released one ‘real’ album and they may not have had the same crystalline clarity to their jangled guitar work as many other Swedish bands do, but there was a that indefinable sense of kink and whimsy to their sound that managed to set them apart from the pack in other more glorious ways.

Artist Links

Bandcamp (Buy It Here)

Label Links

plastilinarecords.comBandcampFacebookTwitter

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