Twin Limb's 'In the Warm Light, As a Ghost' Is a Shimmering Slice of Modern Dream Pop

Photo: W.G. Rickels / Courtesy of Little Star PR

Louisville's Twin Limb emerge from hiatus with an ethereal, intoxicating blend of styles both retro-leaning and futuristic on In the Warm Light, As a Ghost.

In the Warm Light, as a Ghost
Twin Limb


27 November 2019

The sound is like a narcotic. "See You in the Warm Light", the opening track from dream-pop trio Twin Limb's latest album, In the Warm Light, As a Ghost, unfolds lazily, with a lush tempo that brings to mind the Sundays with the tempo dialed down to shoegaze BPMs. However, what sets the Louisville-based band apart from other acts that mine the indie spirit of the past is texture. The deceptively small cast of characters – Maryliz Bender on drums and vocals, Lacey Guthrie on accordion and vocals, Kevin Ratterman on guitar and effects – make the most of the trio format by layering the sounds to create an arresting density.

In the Warm Light, As a Ghost sees Twin Limb coming off a lengthy hiatus. Their last album, Haplo, released in 2016, the same year they were the backing band for fellow Louisvillian Jim James' string of solo shows. The new album isn't much of a departure from their signature sound, although longer tracks allow the group to explore further the sounds they create. On songs like "Water", Bender and Guthrie luxuriate in their vocal harmonies while the organic sounds of guitar, accordion, and drums mix well with keyboards and effects, and not in a way that suggests an unfocused sound gone awry. Rather, this is tuneful, melodic stuff. And while Twin Limb seem rooted in a very warm, traditional style of dream-pop that would put them very much at home with everyone from the Cure to Cocteau Twins to Mazzy Star, it's not so much the sound of a band at home with an old sound; rather, they're committed to smartly updating a genre.

In the Warm Light, as a Ghost is also deceptively varied. Simply calling it "dream-pop" sells the album short. The Eastern-tinged "White Tongues" features a faster tempo with Ratterman firing off buzzsaw guitar riffs and Bender's drums nailing down a jagged beat over the ever-ethereal vocal harmonies. That song leads into the funereal tempo of "Whispering", featuring a statelier, more sedate atmosphere that eventually builds up to a fever pitch of guitar and keyboards. Twin Limb are exceedingly skilled at creating moods and conveying emotions that can cover a wide spectrum in the space of one track.

All three musicians are adept at feeding off each other and giving each other space whenever necessary. On a song like "Bone Collector", Bender is happy to keep the beat almost painfully simple to focus attention on the melodic vocal lines, while Ratterman's guitar provides an exquisite level of menace. Meanwhile, the album's closing track, "Music of the Tesseract", is almost soulful in its delivery, with aching guitar followed up by a slow, tense build-up before it all crashes down and concludes with a little more than a minute of low, disembodied feedback.

With nine tracks clocking in at just under an hour, In the Warm Light, As a Ghost seems almost like a tease, as Twin Limb are a band that cram a variety of musical ideas in a short period. Here's hoping they don't wait another three years for the next album.







A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.


The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.


Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.


Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.


HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.


Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.


Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.


'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.


'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.


Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.


DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.


JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.


​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.


Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times


Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.


How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.


Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.


Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.