Broken Blues - Evil Twin (Off The Hip)
It sneaks up on you. “Broken Blues” kicks off modestly enough with “I Don’t Mind”. It sounds like a sparse blues and winds up sounding like a monstrous fuzz workout, in the vein of Midwest duo Left Lane Cruiser. From then on in, the ride gets better.
Evil Twin set a high bar with the 2014 debut “Kill The Funk” and set out to record a follow-up EP. When he heard the new songs, label boss Mickster Baty suggested something more substantial. (He probably had a Cooper’s in his hand at one of the bacchanalian fests that pass for an in-store at his shop, and he’s one bloke you don’t argue with when he’s got beers on board.) So “Broken Blues” came into full bloom.
For those playing catch-up, Evil Twin is a power duo from Melbourne with Jared Mattern on guitars and vocals and Chris Beechey on drums. They love their blues and they love their fuzz pedal. Fuck, do they love their fuzz pedal. They also have a great sense of dynamics.
Take “Piece of Mind”: It’s based, as always, on a proficient drum pattern but Beechey’s vocal melody rises and falls, chasing a matching guitar line. You could imagine a chunky bass and a Hammond B3 glowing warmly underneath it all, with female backing vocals kicking in towards the end but it doesn’t need any of that. That’s the beauty of what Evil Twin do. All the simple parts lock in just right.
“Slow Dance” is a soulful blues with Martin’s rich vocal and evocative guitar climbing a ladder up a wall of sound. It’s like an early Black Keys song with the latter-day studio excesses peeled back. The title track and “Wonderful Tragedy” lean towards heavy blues, summoning up a big, majestic sound. No bass needed, to make the point.
“Motor City” is one of the spikiest things here, with its maximum fuzz and bouncing rhythmic feel. Just when you think it can’t get any heavier or fuzzier, “Pretend” ups that ante.
Evil Twin might regard themselves as “a jam band” but the spontaneity that format thrives on is what makes them good. Don’t analyse it, listen to it. It’s one of the better things you’ll hear this year.