Written for NOISE CANNON.
Derby-based duo Ghost Twins seek to bend the rules of pop with their debut album Never Fear Total Failure.
Opener ‘Breaking Friends’ ends with the sawtooth buzz of feedback, as though a band have left their instruments to growl, having just smashed the drum kit after a ten-minute metal opus. However, while Ghost Twins are not metalheads, the way that their ‘experimental pop’ style drills even the coolest and calmest of sounds into listeners skulls amidst chaos, says that they are just as furious.
A running theme in Never Fear Total Failure is for vocals to be low in the mix, with varying degrees of distortion, beneath a garble of deep noise and plinky sounds comparable to a baby’s clockwork toys, despite Ghost Twins clearly not intending to lull anyone to sleep. The rapid fire of the robotic lead single ‘2006’ makes its best effort to shake listeners against the back wall.
Lyrics are unintelligible enough that the track titles are almost redundant. The whispered falsetto vocals should in theory compliment the aquatic wobbles of synth in ‘Yellow & Green’, at least until each word is distorted as though the microphones were turned up too high. This leaves behind an overpowering crackle that one might expect onstage were a frontman screaming “London! Make some fucking noise! Jump!” as opposed to the actual, not quite so thrilling subject – “I woke up and went for a walk”.
The regularly formless tracks often sound weird for the sake of being weird, garnished with at least one token instrument that doesn’t belong there. ‘You Will Always Be Lonely’ is a fun, relatively simplistic indie-rock tease, to begin with, but it isn’t long before it is drenched in keyboards.
It takes until the six-minute closer, ‘Fantasyland’ for the title of ‘experimental pop’ successfully emerges in full force, sounding more like a slowly progressing jam session, flicking through the effects, and shows off the duo’s full ethereal potential. It is an unusual paradox that the biggest improvement that Never Fear Total Failure could be given, were for it to have been longer.
The unpredictable mystery of ‘experimental’ squashed into the confinements of four-minute ‘pop’ leads to an album dense enough that it is fit to burst. Longer tracks show Ghost Twins’ ethereal potential, but squeezing as many radio-unfriendly noises into radio friendly length songs lead to ungodly scrambles.