On their sophomore release (first on Merge Records), Twerps have refined their sound and put together an incredibly fun listening experience. Although most of their influences are vintage (think The Feelies, The Clean), Twerps have a way of making their sound still relevant. The Aussie jangle-rockers are set for an adventurous 2015 with tour dates opening for Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and Belle and Sebastian as well as the release of a delightful new record.
The best song on the album is opener “I Don’t Mind”, a laid-back slacker anthem that is essential listening for fans of Mac DeMarco. Lead singer Martin Frawley’s simple lyrics blend with the lazy guitar line as he mulls over the tough decision to get out of bed or not. It’s the kind of song that runs through your head after you’ve hit the snooze button a few too many times in the morning. Vocalist/guitarist Julia McFarlane enters the picture halfway through the song and elevates the track to new heights. Her vocals make you embrace the harsh sun beating off the alarm clock, stand up, pull back the curtains, and get ready to enjoy the day.
“Back To You” is bouncy pop fun, the kind of song that brings a lightness to your step as you walk around town on a gorgeous day. The listener becomes jealous of the climate that could have produced such a warm song; “Back To You” might be my new remedy for Canadian winters. “Stranger” and “Shoulders” show off McFarlane’s talent as she takes a turn at lead vocals with results akin to a more laid-back Courtney Barnett. Album closer “Empty Road” comes like the dusk at the end of a day wild with entertainment. The song has a more sombre and nuanced tone, but feels appropriate as the last song on the album.
For the most part, all 13 songs have a similar feel, and although their formula works wonders for them, it would be nice to hear Twerps step out from their mould. Range Anxiety is an incredible listening experience and I believe Twerps is on the brink of breaking out. “I Don’t Mind” has potential to be on many “Best Songs of 2015” lists come December. Range Anxiety contains no lyrical wonders, it won’t introduce you to new ideas, and you won’t discover anything about yourself; however, it’s a little blast of fun sonic sunshine that is guaranteed to brighten your day.
Twerps’ Range Anxiety is out January 27 in North America on Merge Records.