Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), Suzie Zeldin (The Narrative) and Ben Homola (Bad Books) are all taking hiatuses from their groups. Together with Jonathan Clark, they have forayed into classic Americana with their new band, Twin Forks.
The Twin Forks LP, an extension of the band’s Twin Forks EP from last year, may sound like a typical acoustic folk-rock record but carries punk-rock and indie sensibilities underneath. The feel-good debut single Cross My Mind would be a solid punk track if the mandolins were replaced with hard hitting, three-chord riffs on an electric. Come On and Ke$ha’s C’Mon may have the same message of ‘get(ting) it all in’ on the weekend with no regrets, but obviously sound nothing alike. The former, a rousing ode to hot summer love, even has a rapid-fire hit of lyrics in the chorus: a very ‘punk’ trait.
Comparisons of Twin Forks with Fleetwood Mac are inevitable. Carrabba’s vocals are as vulnerable, thin and raspy (to the point of creepy whispering) as those of legendary guitarist-producer Lindsey Buckingham, especially on Done Is Done and the slow, dusty country waltz Reasoned and Roughened. The male-female harmonies of Carrabba and Zeldin are a nice touch to most tracks, though Zeldin’s vocals should have been louder in the mix. The opener Can’t Be Broken, like Second Hand News from Rumours, is a breezy, rhythm-driven and rousing album opener that makes listeners want to strum along on air guitar.
Some tracks lean towards the more traditional such as Back To You, which has a memorable ‘follow the siiiii-iiigns’ hook. Something We Just Know evokes a country fair setting with its fake yelping and hooting. Kiss Me Darling and Danger both carry a insistent urgency and longing.
Other songs are not so steeped in roots music. The comical Scraping Up The Pieces SWINGS, making it a uptempo soundtrack for a walk with arms flailing everywhere despite its lyrics about the broken pieces of a heart. The best and most pop chorus on the album goes to the single-worthy Plans, whose ‘I’ve got plans for ya, hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo’ hook would no longer sound like innocent flirting after a few drinks. Closer Who’s Looking Out deviates from the organic production of the album with a bit of vocal processing to create a ghostly effect.
Twin Forks have created a listenable, fun fusion of punk, roots and country-tinged folk-rock that is accessible for fans of all those genres. Listeners should look forward to the group’s next effort.