Five albums in for Canada’s experimental indie pop savant
Right, let’s not mess about here, as this is exactly what Slim Twig has done on his fifth album, Thank You For Sticking’ with Twig. This is Twig’s, AKA Canadian Max Turnbull, most cohesive album. It takes his ability to make sample based music, plus his deft touch for original composition, and mixes them together to create forty minutes where you can hardly see the joins.
Opening track Slippin’ Slidn’ is a love letter everything glam. Fuzzy beats, merge with even crunching guitars while he layers it with synths, surface noise and wailing vocals. Textiles on Mainstreet showcases Twig’s ear for melody and pastiching Beatlesesque songwriting. Stone Rollin’ (Musical Emotion) is one of the simplest songs on the album and one of the most effective. Through limited elements, keyboards, vocals and some effects, Turnbull displays thanks to a subtle touch how to get the most emotional outpouring with limited effort.
Fog of Sex (N.S.I.S.) takes a Clockwork Orange sample and skews it into a sleazy pop monster. Think Beck on Midnite Vultures with slowed down T-Rex riffs and you’re close. Out of My Mind does exactly what the title says. It sounds like an episode of the Clangers when they have a party, started tripping balls and the Soup Dragon decides to freak everyone out by speaking in tongues. Live In, Live on Your Era is a relatively standard song in comparison to the rest of the album. Massive 1970’s MOR riffs mingle with woozy vocals and slightly psych production. Cannabis is a freakout jam based around Serge Gainsbourg’s track of the same name.
Thank You For Sticking’ with Twig is a psych pop gem, that gets better with each listen. Only through repeated listens can you start to gleam the complicated layers of music, sound and noise Turnbull uses to create his sonic wonders. The only downside is that at times it gets lost under the weight of its ideas. Every production trick in the book sounds like it’s been used on this album, which is great, but the album doesn’t flow as well as it could. By removing a few techniques and effects the songs would have room to breathe and, at times, not feel so compacted. Having said that, the scope of the project should be commended and when it works, it’s some of the best music released this year.