Twinemen have a long shadow hanging over them, and that shadow is the legend of the late Mark Sandman. Sandman’s Morphine bandmates Dana Colley and Billy Conway comprise half of Twinemen, an ensemble that uses the same hazy, low-end, sultry, druggy sonic template that made Morphine one of the most popular independent bands of the late 90s. It’s impossible not to reminisce about Sandman while listening to Twinetime, Twinemen’s third album. Though Laurie Sargent’s vocals are often alluring and fit the aural landscape well, one can’t help but remember that Colley’s baritone sax is that same one that once underlined Sandman’s spoke-sung barroom drawl. The press sheet says that many of Twinetime‘s songs are “first time instrumental voyages, shaped by a spontaneity achieved through improvisation.” This formula works both for and against the band—the dense and brooding “Wrecking Ball” is successful because of its emphasis on multi-tracked vocals and horns, but “I Wouldn’t Want To” comes off as a first-take throwaway. “Eddie Edison” is an album stand-out due to its snappier pace and menacingly catchy chorus. Unfortunately, Twinetime‘s other lyrics fall between unsuccessful spontaneous compositions (opener “The End of My Dreams”) and seemingly trite, contrived cringers (the bizarre “Calamity J.” and overly-wordy “Oona”). Facts that, in turn, make this listener miss the self-deprecating and irreverent underworld painted by Sandman and his band.
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