There is no better way to reduce someone’s impact than by calling them ‘cute’, but unfortunately cute is as cute does, and Slim Twig’s Thank You For Stickin’ With Twig is more of an occasionally endearing oddity than anything else. It’s a joke that never oversteps the boundaries of its own punchline, and the way it evokes genuinely brilliant artists who wrote with their tongues firmly in their cheeks (Zappa, Beefheart and more recently Ariel Pink and Ween) gradually begins to halt the proceedings in their tracks.
It’s a shame, because at times Slim Twig (a.k.a Max Turnbull) shows off the genuine depths of his talent. A Woman’s Touch (It’s No Coincidence) is a truly brilliant track, a stunning example of what is possible within the confines of a genre that is often reductively termed ‘novelty.’ It’s overblown to a point of near parody, but never tips off the abyss into joke territory, and instead remains funny and furious throughout.
Indeed, the number proves so good that it throws the rest of the album off its axis. Tracks like Textiles On Main Street or Fog Of Sex (N.S.I.S.) are goofy enough, but they lack any real substance and power. The latter in particular is certainly atmospheric, but it doesn’t have enough weight to hold itself in place, and eventually begins to drift off into obscurity.
By the time the affected strains of Cannabis – a song that promises more than it ever ultimately delivers – have come to their crashing halt, Thank You For Stickin’ With Twig has very little to leave in its wake. It’s a very genuine shame then, given the occasional flashes of brilliance that show up throughout, and leaves one hoping that by the time he releases his next work, Turnbull has ironed out some of the kinks in his sound. He has a very great album somewhere within him; unfortunately, this isn’t it.