Toronto-based band Twist‘s debut album titled Spectral comes out about three years after the band’s original formation and has been in the making throughout most of this time. Recorded over such a large span of time Spectral is clearly an album about growth and change – it is meant to show the artists’ evolution and awareness of a range of emotions and experiences.

‘Spectral’ by Twist Album Review

Originally founded by Laura Hermiston and Briand Borcherdt, Twist gained some attention as a duo in early 2014 before expanding to feature collaborators Charles Rowell and Jenny Vee. Now their debut full-length album Spectral reveals what Twist have been up to in the past years and their growth from a touring act to seasoned artists. This, of course, is not the first gig for any of the band’s members. With Hermiston’s membership in the BB Guns and Borcherdt’s in Holy Fuck, Twist feels like a side project that has only just now sort of come to fruition, but even so, their new album is worth the listen.

Spectral is clearly a collaborative effort. Much of the tracks have a certain lack of cohesion, perhaps due to the band leaders’ different artistic approached. Hermiston is clearly sonically oriented towards melody and harmony, while Borcherdt likes to dabble in more experimental tunes. The result is a peculiar blend of layers like the one we hear on “Can’t Wait.” This gives an interesting quality to their sound – both grounded and spectral. The record sits comfortably in a darker niche of electronic pop with electric guitars filling out space and giving the soundscape a colder, dreamy but at times almost nightmarish quality.

Elsewhere Spectral has an old-timey feel.The blend of modern electronics is seemingly less pronounced on highlights like “Bleached” and closer “Where To Lie.” Conversely, there are moments that are predominantly electronic and synthy, which shows the kind of range of sonic possibilities that Twist have at their disposal. The blend of classical rock riffs and modern-sounding vocals is not something that Twist have invented for the first time, but it is a combination that works successfully for their musical goals and abilities.

This debut album sounds above all refreshing and promising. It is one of the strongest full-length debuts of the year, even though clocking at just over 30 minutes makes it seem kind of short for an album almost three years in the making. Regardless, the band’s future projects are something to be on the lookout for in the coming years.

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