On their self-titled first album, Australias Twerps take all the best pieces of their uneven EP and flesh them out into a breezy, promising debut.
Where they sounded confused on who they wanted to be before a thrashy, lo-fi garage band or tuneful songsmiths the decision has now been made. The riffs are still reverbed, though now discernable, and the sonic quality still tinny, but nearly all of the 11 tracks are mid-tempo rockers complete with jangly guitars, beautiful melodies, and lyrics that sound like they were pulled from a high school diary. There is nothing for the songs to hide behind, and it works in their favor.
Twerps excel when they keep it simple and traditional. The surf riff and repetitive groove of opening track Dreamin sets the tone for an album packed full of listenable and earnest songs about longing and lost love. On Anything New, singer/guitarist Marty Frawley sings that he doesnt want to be anything new. Sung over a delicate guitar riff and directed towards a girl, it’s accessible for outcasts who arent necessarily the middle finger-giving type. Its a theme that continues throughout the album. The bratty lyrics of Who Are You? and its chorus of Well get drunk, well gets stoned, well get high, well get drunk almost sound sweet in the context of softly strummed acoustic guitars and an echoed lead.
The aptly titled Jam Song is the most rollicking moment on the album but still far more subdued than anything by their New Zealand heroes The Clean, and thats okay. Although you get the feeling that the band has the ability to throw caution to the wind and crank it up, their restraint and focus is refreshing. Halfway through, they falter a bit on the ambient filler Grow Old but make up for it on a remarkably strong second half that includes Bring Me Down, a simple, spoken word, acoustic number with self-affirming lyrics that capture the albums subtle and identifiable attitude.
This isnt groundbreaking stuff, but it is very successful and well-crafted guitar rock, which is becoming more rare these days. Twerps makes a strong case for paying attention to this band.
Essential tracks: Who Are You?, Dreamin