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Twin XŁ - “How to Talk to Strangers” (Album Review)

Written by Christina Morgan

One may ask what a band of brothers
and college dorm mattresses have in common.  The answer is they’re both named ‘Twin XŁ’.
The group is comprised of seasoned professionals from the music world, including
Stephen and John Gomez, as well as former Nekokat member Cameron Walker. Though
you may recognize these fellow musicians from past projects like The Summer Set
and Nekokat, their newest project is worlds apart. Their sound is fresh, upbeat,
and flooded with nostalgia. Although Twin XŁ’s genre cannot be pinned down into
one word or category, the group definitely takes inspiration from several
different music genres. In a recent Instagram livestream, the band had a
listening party with fans where they spoke about the album and what went into
its creation. 

The first half of the EP had
already been released in singles throughout the late fall and early winter,
before the whole album’s release date on March 1st.  ‘Good’ was the first single to hit streaming
services on September 21st, followed by ‘Sunglasses’ on November 16th
and ‘Friends’ on February 8th. This is an album that really
resonated with me, and I do believe it has a sort of montage/narrative story to
it. The album starts off with a retro upbeat track entitled ‘Sunglasses’ which
is the perfect song to drive to with friends. The lyrics “I wear my sunglasses, so nobody can see me…I must protect my soul.” seem to highlight upon the feelings of anxiety and possible agoraphobia.
According to bassist, John, the origin of ‘Sunglasses’ had all started with a
simple bass line he had created on a voice memo. The next track, ‘Friends’, has
a very chill vibe to it, with some found audio added in at the start as well as
the end of the song. Similarly to ‘Good’, ‘Friends’ also has a music video to
accompany it as well. The video involves all of Twin XŁ dancing around in a
decked out house. The video really channels a Black Mirror-esque vibe by having
Cameron hang out with what seems to be an inanimate bear, who eventually comes
to life and starts to dance along with the band. 

‘Neon Summer’ is the next track off
the album. This song seems as though it could refer to the character
progression the subject in ‘Sunglasses’ goes through. The lyrics “I wear my sunglasses, so nobody can see me,
I take no chances I must protect my soul…”
vastly contradict the line “Open your eyes, set yourself free, under
the sun where we wanna be…”
from ‘Neon Summer’. The character/subject of
the album is slowly coming out of their shell, and becoming more extroverted.
It almost has a Beatles-esque quality to it as well, quite possibly channeling 60/70s
rock to incorporate more of a rounded out sound, which does not adhere to any
specific genre; let’s call it “genre-fluid”. ‘Good’ follows suit with ‘Neon
Summer’ as being a feel-good song. 

‘Thrill’, the third to last song on
the album has a very cinematic feel to it. This track is definitely one you
could see playing while an overview of a party is shown during a coming of age
film. It’s definitely one of the more upbeat songs on the album for sure, and
will definitely get people up and dancing around. The song originally was
crafted from a melodic hook that comes right after the chorus, and is described
by the band as a “crazy” song of theirs. ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ is a track that
exudes confident energy. The line “Everybody’s
talkin, but I don’t hear a thing, I just do my thing..”
seems to describe
how some people can fall into gossiping and keeping up with the on-going trials
and tribulations of celebrity lives, but this person just doesn’t want anything
to do with that. They want to just do their own thing, and not be bothered by
what everyone else is thinking or saying about them. ‘Don’t Wake Me, I’m Still
Dreaming’ is the last track off the album. It’s really that one track that
makes you feel nostalgic, but can’t quite put your finger on why or how. In
their livestream, John also stated that ‘…this song makes me nostalgic for
something I haven’t experienced yet.” 

The reason the album is so good, is
because there’s a song for everyone on it. Whether you like upbeat songs,
feel-good tunes, or ones that are a bit more cinematic, there’s a track you can
jam out to. The album is rather relatable as well, due to the fact that Twin XŁ
wrote songs that include times where you may feel insecure, or less of
yourself, but also have songs that make you feel ‘Good’ or more confident in
yourself; which everyone has been through at one point or another (pun-intended).
Buzzing off their latest album release, ‘How to Talk to Strangers’, the group
is heading out on a national tour of the US along with Jukebox the Ghost and
The Mowgli’s.

Check Twin XŁ Out!
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