It’s no coincidence that the website for Athens’ Twin Tigers heavily features the equivalent of a staticky television screen, failing to receive a signal from the old rabbit ears. Or better yet, this is the tracking function while trying to play back an episode of Twin Peaks recorded onto a blank VHS. This ready appropriation of heady retro angst carries through onto their sophomore album, Death Wish, a slab of goth-pop much darker and more focused than their debut.
Twin Tigers are at their best on the album when pushing into the rawest of nerves, Logan Hornbuckle’s frantic drumming leading the “Racecar” down into the depths. After 30 seconds of bland, dark feedback, the scattered rolls and tinny cymbals give the song some teeth, high register squealing peaking at all the right moments. Matthew Rain’s Robert Smith-leaning vocals sound pushed through a screen door, and Aimee Morris’ bass hums with a fiery distaste for anything in its way.
But when the tempo slows, as on “Opana”, the Cure comparison becomes too easy, the whole thing lacking the sinister edge that differentiates their stronger tracks from their influence. “I’ll always love you but I don’t really care right now,” Rain moans on that track, later lolling dramatic that “if it’s not worth dying for it’s not worth saving” on “Transition”.
Though, even that almost self-aware bit of mopey middle ground can’t detract from the black sugar rush of “Death Wish”, Forrest Hall’s stuttered guitar riffs pushing Rain’s voice to its most emphatic. When embracing the catharsis in their darkness, pushing the tempo as well as their own boundaries, Twin Tigers offering something beyond the fuzzy imitations of their stylistic influences.
Essential Tracks: “Racecar”, “Death Wish”