Twen — Awestruck (Sept. 20, 2019)                           Twen — Awestruck (Sept. 20, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)••    Moody duo with roots in Boston’s D.I.Y. scene make hard~edged psychedelic pop. Edgar Allan Poe, poet and writer. The Pixies, band. Amanda Palmer, songwriter and performer. Billy Squier, American rock musician. Steven Van Zandt, musician with Bruce Springsteen band and actor, The Sopranos. Mark Wahlberg, actor, rapper, producer, Boogie Nights, The Perfect Storm, The Departed, The Fighter. Tony Williams, jazz drummer. Alan Wilson, singer, guitarist (Canned Heat). Adam Duritz, singer/songwriter for Counting Crows (born in Baltimore, lived in Boston). Chick Corea, Grammy Award~winning jazz musician and composer. Boston, band. Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic conductor, composer and pianist. Aerosmith, band.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Album release: September 20, 2019
Record Label: Frenchkiss Records
Duration:     36:26
01 Awestruck   2:52
02 Damsel   3:04
03 Honey Smacks   2:45
04 Long Time   3:35
05 Make Hard   3:13
06 Baptis   4:44
07 Holy River   3:34
08 Waste   4:21
09 Azkaban   3:25
10 Horseblood   4:53
••    Written by Jane Fitzsimmons / Ian Jones
••    Cory Best   Drums, Overdubs
••    Joe Costa   Engineer
••    Jane Fitzsimmons   Artwork, Composer, Vocals
••    Dex Green   Producer
••    Nate Grimm   Overdubs
••    Ian Jones   Bass, Composer, Guitars, Keyboards
••    Joe LaPorta   Mastering
••    Marcus Maddox   Cover Photo
••    Chad Wahlbrink   Mixing, Overdubs
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas. Score: ★★★★ 
••    After meeting when they were both involved in Boston’s D.I.Y. house show scene, Jane Fitzsimmons and Ian Jones came together to form Twen. A far cry from the unpolished punk and indie bands that incubated in the basement shows of their scene, Twen’s slippery sound was moody, thick, and slightly psychedelic. Powerful, steady drumming and loud guitars suggested rock, but Jones’ chorus~drenched guitars and Fitzsimmons’ expressive and hook~laden vocal harmonies took them into catchier pop territory.
••    After a lo~fi live EP, Awestruck is Twen’s fully formed debut, an album that shifts between slow~burning rock moods and soaring ethereal pop. One of the first things to immediately stand out is the way Fitzsimmons blurs her vocals into pleasantly misshapen enunciations. Much like the woozy style of Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser, Twen’s lyrics are ambiguous to the point where it’s more natural to just assign emotional impressions to the sounds than struggle to follow any specific narrative. The layers of tight harmony on songs like “Make Hard” and the airy dreaminess of “Baptism” are so beautifully evocative that lyrical vagueness is hardly a concern. On “Damsel,” the catchiest and arguably strongest song on the album, this blurry vocal style meets driving rhythms and swimmy strands of guitar melodies. A hopeful and jangly 12~string guitar argues with tuneful feedback. Twen are at their sharpest and most accessible on songs like this, though they explore shadowy blues~light dirges (“Long Time”) and glowing ambient pop (“Holy River”) as the album goes on. The band manages to push their songs through a wide variety of approaches without ever losing consistency. Twen’s dark dreaminess is somehow both meticulously precise and drifting throughout Awestruck. Much like Fitzsimmons’ obscured lyrics, the songs leave impressions that are cloudy but deep. Ξ 
★   “The band Twen was born and bred in the Boston DIY punk scene, where lead vocalist Jane Fitzsimmons and guitarist Ian Jones met before moving to Nashville. They recorded a live cassette of their first ever show in a Boston basement, called Twen Live, and though it wasn’t intended for release, the band have toured the EP nonstop for the last two years. Not only does it document the band’s sonic evolution since forming in 2017, but it shows how far they’ve come. Twen are set to release their debut album, Awestruck, on September 20 via Frenchkiss.
★   Twen’s genre~defying songs, fall somewhere between dream pop and psych rock, with an inherent DIY ethos. While the “Damsel” video’s playful nature speaks to the band’s desire to make thoughtful art and to simply have fun doing it, the concept came to Jane during a full moon, while journaling about ways to bring even more joy to the music project. The answer? Dirt bikes. In the video, they fly through the air against a bright blue sky and Ian and Jane kick up some dirt too — in matching screen printed, logo sets they designed themselves.” — Nicole DeMarco, I~D Vice
★  “…the release of new single ‘Damsel’, a powerful and tumultuous rock song that comes out glowing like a jangle~pop great of yesteryear. The duo soon take the opportunity to show off their melodic chops, as Fitzsimmons’ voice washes brilliantly against Jones’ chords, making clear Twen’s ability and desire to be playing on big stages very soon.” —  Rob Hakimian, The 405
★   “Waste” is an arresting introduction to Twen’s genre~defying sound, blending elements of psych rock and dream pop to make a sunny and energetic mélange, like surf rock a la Sunflower Bean. Theirs is the kind of timeless rock that leaves room for introspection and escapism both, conjuring infectious hooks without ever sacrificing texture. Fitzsimmons assets her worth by way of her androgynous vocals, singing, “I make you want to waste it, I make you wanna be someone / I make you want to waste it, I make you wanna waste some time.”
★   Twen, who came up through the Boston DIY punk scene, have been a hard band to find thus far, at least online: A search of streaming services returns only a self~titled 2017 live EP, recorded during the band’s debut performance in a Beantown basement. Twen have been honing their live show on the road ever since, taking their DIY approach across the country while piecing together their first album. Stay tuned for more on that front, as we can expect the album’s announcement and release both sometime in 2019.” — Scott Russell, Paste Magazine


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