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Twin Atlantic

Drawing a line through fellow Scots alt-rock combos BIFFY CLYRO and FRIGHTENED RABBIT, plus a string of emo acts from across the big pond, Glasgow’s TWIN ATLANTIC have managed to cross over into UK Top 10 mainstream territory with solid albums `Great Divide’ and `GLA’; despite – or indeed, spurred on – by the fact that pained singer Sam McTrusty maintains his thickset “Weegie” brogue.
Formed in March 2007 by Sam (also rhythm guitar), Barry McKenna (lead guitar, cello), Ross McNae (bass, piano) and Craig Kneale (drums, percussion), TWIN ATLANTIC quickly built up a random reputation on a local level for their no-messing excess hard-edged rock. Retreating to a studio in Cardiff, Wales, with producer Romesh Dodangoda, the quartet emerged early the following year with a debut EP, `A Guidance From Colour’. As Kerrang! patroned the four tracks, namely `Audience And Audio’, `I Cave In’, `Time Is The Enemy’ and the exuberant title track, support slots to a number of top-notch post-punk-pop American acts (BLINK-182 among them), and the aforementioned BIFFY CLYRO, drew a wider audience; festivals duly booked them, while King Tuts Recordings were behind the band on CD-single, `What Is Light? Where Is Laughter?’.
Bolstered by a run of limited-edition 7-inch singles for Red Bull Records, from `You’re Turning Into John Wayne’, a reprised `What Is Light?…’ and `Lightspeed’, a debut mini-set VIVARIUM {*7} got them off the mark when released in September 2009.
Stepping up to the plate for Top 40 sophomore set, FREE (2011) {*7}, the TA were soaring in their chanthemic post-hardcore emo. However, America was reasonably happy with their own home-grown breed of teenage angst-ers; TAKING BACK SUNDAY, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE and The GASLIGHT ANTHEM having already given the Caledonian cruisers a stage. `Edit Me’ and the title track were chosen to prop up the set, whilst `Time For You To Stand Up’ and `Make A Beast Of Myself’ received airplay from BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, a stalwart in the band’s immediate progress.
Forever the support act to many already-established acts, THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS were next to invite the endearing TWIN ATLANTIC on tour, in order to promote their tastiest of tracks as yet, the spring 2014 Top 20 `Heart & Soul’. Previewing their third album, GREAT DIVIDE {*7} (their second produced by grunge-meister Gil Norton), `Brothers & Sisters’ also reached Top 50 proportions, although not everyone was impressed by the quartet’s arena-friendly, fist-pumping sing-a-longs. Unashamedly ambitious and recalling SMASHING PUMPKINS in their heyday (McTrusty fast-garnering many plaudits), the brazen and bombastic pieces shone through in `Hold On’ and the head-spinning `Cell Mate’.
Switching producers from Norton to Jacknife Lee, GLA (2016) {*7} almost tread the same Trojan-horse path as its predecessors. FUGAZI-like opener, `Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’ and insomniac download-single `No Sleep’ unleashed their screamo-delica, while comparisons to Simon Neil and the BIFFYs must’ve grated on the group. Better still was the kick-arse `Ex El’, a masterful power-chorder that had McTrusty in his best McFLY-sty-meets-ARCADE FIRE impersonation. With more than a nod to NIRVANA’s `Heart-Shaped Box’, `Valhalla’ signalled that the grunge lineage would continue under a subliminal level. While it might be a while before rock fans compare any rising band to TWIN ATLANTIC, they’ll continue to grind out their slick, teenage-angst toons for all they’re worth.
© MC Strong/MCS Sep2016

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