Twerps have spent some time touring with indie rock's chillest, including Real Estate and notorious shoe merchant Mac Demarco. Their record, Range Anxiety -- which, from its title, sounds one half Pavement, one half Parquet Courts -- continues to show off their talents for polishing up twee pop songs into something fuller, with sweet melodies upended by the kind of chords that backed up Days and Atlas. Beautiful, easy breezy and emotive.
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If you’ve ever wondered who a band like Real Estate turns to when they’re feeling anxious, out of sorts and in dire need of reassurance that the world is actually a beautiful place, may I suggest Twerps? With a stockpile of twinkly riffage, soft rock percussion and sleepily whispered vocals, these wall-leaning Aussies introduce ‘Range Anxiety’ like a cup of tea you secretly know you’ll only get half way through. Indie rock hasn’t been this clean since last year’s stunning ‘Atlas’, and the result is your new bit of musical positive reinforcement -- a record of calmed melodies, keen harmonies and Can’t Complain rock ‘n’ roll.
It’s hard to hate on a record like this: either they sit in the background or you fall wildly, deeply in love with them for creating comfort zones you can live inside of. In this case, it’s mostly the former and sometimes the latter; the riffs aren’t particularly inventive, but they wrap themselves around you as if you need the extra layer before you go outside, and the vocal harmonies are chorused so you might feel a little less lonesome. On “New Moves”, the band is arranged around a boisterous bass line and distanced coos, while the ringing chords blur like clouds crossing the sky. It’s the kind of chill parental rock we’ve grown accustomed to, done the right way: it’s firm and well told, but easy-breezy too. No wagged fingers; just warm embraces.
The most this record flares up is “Cheap Education”, a slightly more frivolous tune inspired by the proto-punk of Television. It gets the closest to a synonym of the word propulsive as the record can, but the forceful rhythm eventually relents for “Love At First Sight”, a predominantly acoustic ditty that’s hummed all eyes-closed and drunken vocals. After a brief detour, it all feels good again, because ‘Range Anxiety’ is about tempering your fears and struggles, not giving into them. Long live hammock rock.
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