Twin Atlantic @ The Joiners 10/02/10

“I’m not going to even give that an answer,” says Twin Atlantic’s frontman Sam McTrusty to whomever thought it was clever to shout “’Mon the Biffy!” at them in between their first songs. And he’s completely justified in doing this, too, as Twin Atlantic (though from the same town of Ayrshire as Biffy Clyro, and mastering in a similar brand of angular rock music as them) have been trying hard to make a unique name for themselves. And they’re not just trying hard – they’re succeeding…

But before tonight’s headliners take to the stage there’s local band Until We Sleep, added to the bill for tonight. As soon as they begin their set, their influences are clear – their jerky, chop-and-change, At The Drive-In style rhythms and sound are attention grabbing, but the lighter tint to their songs makes for a more interesting listen, and sets the evening off on the right tone. And with an upcoming Maida Vale set for BBC Introducing…, it might be worth keeping an eye on them for the future. Not bad for a band of self-professed “laziest bunch of bums”.

 Touring support Canterbury have clearly built up an impressive following after big-time support slots. Their synth-led pop-rock is so happy and perky, you’d have to be a manic depressive to not watch them. Or, apparently, above the age of 20. The band themselves are all floppy-haired and bouncier than rubber balls, which is fine for the younger members of the audience that are perhaps feeling nostalgic for Panic! At The Disco, but the people that came for the headliners seem to need more impressing.

This tour has apparently seen Twin Atlantic draw some thinly spread crowds at some venues. No wonder, then, that they give this show 110% for the crowd that has gathered and completely filled the space at The Joiners tonight. As Sam McTrusty (who coincidentally, has the best name ever!), Barry McKenna, Ross McNae and Craig Kneale take to the stage, they thrust straight into You’re Turning Into John Wayne, which immediately gets the crowd moving and singing along as they do for the rest of the evening. Every song announced tonight is met with applause and cheers, and the same goes for two new songs that no-one here could possibly have heard before! Such is the fevered reaction to Twin Atlantic’s presence tonight, that even the technical difficulties that plague their entire set don’t dampen the bands spirits at all. They simply laugh it off, sort it out and play another song – Twin Atlantic came to play a show, and they’re clearly determined to do it!

Current single Lightspeed and crowd favourite Audience And Audio make for a good show as they’re what people have turned out to see tonight, but the surprises truly come when guitarist Barry McKenna puts down his guitar and picks up a cello for two beautiful numbers (including Vivarium closer Better Weather) mid-set. So tense is this atmosphere that when some kid tries not once but twice to crowd-surf during these songs, they both simply stop playing and watch him until his mates put him down again before carrying on. “Don’t get me wrong, I fully endorse crowd-surfing” says Sam McTrusty in his thick Scottish accent, “but when we’re trying to make a genuine connection, you just end up looking like a fool!” It’s not that Twin Atlantic are overly artistic in the slightest, it is simply that they’re so passionate about giving these shows their all for the people eager to see them play. “What about the muses at the back? Are we impressing you yet, or do we need to work harder?” is some more of Sam’s banter throughout the evening, “See, we love you guys at the front because you’re passionate, but it’s the muses at the back that buy CD’s.”

Original breakthrough single What Is Light? Where Is Laughter? is met with huge applause and promptly sets the crowd singing along again before they announce their last song and are met with an almost pantomime “awww” from the crowd. The smiles on the faces of every member of Twin Atlantic have steadily gotten bigger and bigger throughout the evening, and by now they’re grinning from ear to ear and you can tell that they are genuinely passionate about their work tonight. “Thank you so much for coming out tonight, we really appreciate it” is almost a clichéd term for bands now, but by the look on Sam McTrusty’s face, you know he means it!

Twin Atlantic have worked hard to be able to sell out this venue – and if they continue to write songs as amazing as these, and their up-coming US tour goes well for them, you know that they are destined to get much, much bigger in the future!

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Twin Atlantic – “Vivarium”

Twin Atlantic are a little known, Ayrshire four-piece that specialise in creating strong, strange, anthemic sounds in their own brand of rock music. Similar in certain aspects to the likes of Sucioperro and Biffy Clyro, both of whom Twin Atlantic share a homeland of Scotland with (in the case of Biffy Clyro, a shared hometown!), this band is slowly but definitely on the rise and heading for some major action. And with Vivarium, their debut mini-album, that success is sure to come even quicker!

What originally interested me in Twin Atlantic was their expansive sound and their ability to write interesting, original lyrics, in much the same way that first interested me in Biffy Clyro. Vivarium also contains the first song of theirs that really caught me, What is Light? Where is Laughter?, but this isn’t even the most popular song on this mini-album. Album opener Lightspeed is their most recent single and it sets the album off at the perfect pitch, with singer Sam McTrusty’s (and yes, that IS his real name!!) clear vocals and strong accent bringing more to their innovative sound than any other instruments really could.

You’re Turning Into John Wayne is another utterly fantastic song filled with quiet-loud/stop-start explosions of expansive guitars, with the conscientious theme of people moving to the “land of opportunity” and losing their heritage in the process. What is Light? Where is Laughter? hits you in much the same way that Biffy Clyro’s Saturday Superhouse did the first time I heard it, and there are some beautiful turn-of-phrases in there, such as “I’m over and over and over and out” and is a genuinely great showpiece of what Twin Atlantic  are capable of doing between just the four of them. Audience and Audio is one of their previously released songs as well, but this too is a brilliantly emotive song, technical in its creation and engaging in its sound, whilst Better Weather is a fantastic album closer, starting off with the right kind of bang that an album should go out on, but also finishing with a beautifully crafted part of just simply guitar/vocal work. Just the right touch of both to end an album on.

Even though Vivarium is only 8 songs long and only clocks in at just over a half-hour, it’s still says as much about the band, their roots, their style and their ambitions as any full-length debut would, and proves that Twin Atlantic are definitely a band to watch out for in your local areas, especially if you’re into Biffy Clyro’s style of the strange and symphonic all at once!