Window Twins isn’t the first collaboration between Tim Cohen (The Fresh & Onlys, Magic Trick) and Jon Bernson (Exrays, Rays Vast Basement): Bernson was in Cohen’s old band Black Fiction, and both are associated with the Howells Transmitter arts collaborative/record label. But with Wish, the follow-up to their 2009 debut I’m This Tall City, the duo make perhaps the most profound case for their partnership and blend of experimental folk-pop.
What makes the LP a success is that they work to maintain some of the tendencies more closely associated with both men; that is, the folky, indie-rock-leaning earnestness, while building up incrementally to something expansive.
Album opener “Two Left Feet” may soak its vocals in reverb and float with spacey guitar strums, but its a quaint folk tune at its core about being nervous and awkward. “Old People” maintains that quaintness, with a lyrical focus about growing older and a catchy piano part, but buries it under multiple layers of studio fuzz. Even soaked in sonic ash, though, the shiny bits manage to maintain their luster and appeal. And by the time the record closes with “Good People”, the folky songwriting element and the haze of psychedelic effects are all mashed up into one glorious, groovy mess that blurs and happily obliterates musical lines.
But even as Cohen and Bernson perfect their aural marriage, they maintain semblances of their individuality, specifically in their unique vocals (Cohen’s more multi-faceted, while Bernson’s emotions are more immediate). It’s enough to draw in respective fans while the rest of the album does the job of making it very clear there’s something both familiar and disarming to their hybrid sound, a construct as bubbly as it is bizarre. Let’s do it again real soon, gents.
Essential Tracks: “Two Left Feet”, “Old People”, and “Good People”