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Album Review: Twin Atlantic – Great Divide

3 min read

The Glaswegian four-piece return with their follow-up to debut album Free, and with it they bring the usual sound of youth and mayhem that raised them up from the unknown, to on the cusp of becoming household names. And it’s being on this cusp which is so dangerous. Get it wrong and you fall back into mediocrity and ultimately disappear, get it right and super stardom waits.  So with this is mind, which path does destiny hold for Twin Atlantic and their new album Great Divide?

Twin Atlantic - Great DivideStarting off with The Ones That I Love (Intro), you can immediately tell this is going to be an album for the youth.  Gentle, sweet, and self indulgent stuff follows, with lead singer Sam McTrusty singing about the youth of today losing their voice and making claims that music is his therapy. Fall into the Party continues the theme with more self-obsessed pop rock, set against nice shifts of tune and melody, whilst the listener catches glimpses of silky vocals and hints of the Scottish accent. The Twilight saga caught young adults with its literature, Twin Atlantic catch them here with their alt-rock.

If you’re looking for a couple of foot-stomping choruses, look no further than Heart and Soul and Brothers and Sisters.  Both these tunes fall into the category of unmemorable verses but pant-wettingly amazing choruses. They wallop you right between the eyes and make no apologies for it, turning what would otherwise be paint-by-numbers pop-rock tracks into epics that punch above their weight.

However, Great Divide does have its problems.  I am an Animal features a nice drum intro, but unfortunately grinds down into an American rock rehash, whereas track Cell Mate starts off with an exciting hard edge, but again gets beaten back into a corner, sounding like it’s for young people finding their way in music to move on from lighter pop bands. This is where the problem lies with parts of the album – it often feels like its tailored for what the record company wanted it to be, pitted against what the band wanted it to be, and therefore seems to argue with itself.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent tracks here. When the band feels settled and confident they are able to produce their best stuff, such as Actions That Echo. This is an album highlight because it feels coherent, well rounded, and doesn’t rely on tricks or a massive chorus; it’s just a well written song that really works. It has a Biffy Clyro edge to it, that can’t be denied, but it also highlights their own strengths in their vocal work and deserves much praise for its exuberance.

Great Divide is an album of contrasts. One minute it’s brilliant, the next it’s ordinary. One minute playful and rebellious, the next it’s being cornered into appealing to the masses of kids looking for their first step into rock. Twin Atlantic aren’t going to disappear, but they may have to wait a little longer for super stardom. Once they’ve made up their minds which direction they want to go in, their next record could be huge.