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My thoughts on TWIDDLE - PLUMP CHAPTER 1 - (there is no good reason for not having this record)

I married a jam guy.

This ska/reggae/rocksteady enthusiast married a jam guy.

It's not news. We have been married a few years. We bonded over a shared love of Bad Religion and Irish coffees several years ago and the rest is history. He is a bass player and a Dead Head. Our musical tastes are both very eclectic and while they overlap in many places, we never had a really prominently shared adoration for a band that made us both go looking for shows and hotels in other cities to see them at. Well, until now.

 I have had a good time taking him on Slackers booze cruises and Pietasters shows over the last few years. I have enjoyed showing him my world and my terrible dancing. His love is in the jam scene. I have gone to see him play and equally enjoyed watching the crowds at these colorful festivals and listening to the incredible musicianship I have gotten the chance to see. The people are wonderful and welcoming, but I didn't feel that pulling in my heart the way I do at the shows in the scene I have followed for many years. That is not to say that I have not seen incredible bands. I have. It's just not my thing. But that is why music is amazing. There is literally something for everyone...and then some.

On this day last year, we were sitting in a large corner hospital room awaiting our daughter's birth. My procedure had been postponed due to an emergency with another patient so my husband was sitting nervously in the corner listening to music while I watched TV and the clock. He was digging hard on this band I have never heard of, telling me I should really give this a listen. It was like the perfect melding of our two scenes. There was jam and there was groove. There was a steady beat and reggae flavor infused throughout. He knows I adore anything vocal heavy, and he promised me vocals that don't quit and lyrics that made the hair on your arms stand up. I was hugely pregnant and relatively impatient, so I more or less dismissed him.

Then he played it for me. It was Twiddle.



He was listening to a song called Lost in the Cold and with the emotions of bringing a life into the world and feeling ours change, it had brought him to tears. I knew that feeling. The way music gets under your skin and feels like thousands of electrodes bringing you to life as if prior to this moment, you had never actually lived. I felt it. I felt that pulling in my heart. I have not been able to stop that feeling since.

From that day forth, I kept hearing the songs from this album popping up. I would be driving in the car and listening to Jam On on satellite radio and songs would come on. Every single time it was like hearing something amazing for the first time. That feeling where you have to stop, clear your head, and really take it in. This was something special and it has been a while since I have had this experience with music. That was it. Hooked.

Lost in the Cold is easily my favorite track on the album. It's got solid groove and you cannot help but move with it, but more than that, it's in the words. These guys have a way with words and a way to bring them into your ears that is something both unique and exceptional. The vocals are on point. The bass line is killer. As my introduction to this band's talents, I had a high standard as my listening continued.

There is a lot of self reflection on this record. There is a lot of looking at the world and it's people with hope and confusion and determination all at once. I love that in music. I love to think and feel as I listen and it's something that seems to lack so heavy in a lot of today's music. Every Soul has a great line, "So much love when you let go of your sanity". YES! Dude. Exactly. Sometimes you have to remove the shackles of what we hold ourselves down with and let the current carry us.

The whole song is a lesson in letting go of your every day to just feel the world around you. Stop worrying about what everyone expects you to be and open your senses to enjoy the world happening around you. It's not just the words with Twiddle though. The music plays along with this concept perfectly. The lively keys kind of give you that impression that you are being carried along. These guys put it together in a way that welcomes you in like an old friend. They are songs you can get lost in like a good book.

It's been a long time since I have listened to an album from start to finish and could not skip a single song because they are all just that stellar. Another track, Complacent Race, seems incredibly appropriate for what is happening right now both socially and politically in our country and how it feels from the inside. You just want to live life in peace but it feels like things are just exploding around you from so much that we could conquer if we could just love hard enough. These incredible, simple but precise words that hit hard over a groove that makes you want to dance the world into peace. An outstanding blend of styles with good bass love and keys.

Twiddle themselves are an outstanding blend of musicians. Vocalist Mihali has just enough grit behind incredible melodies to convey that emotion packed vocal in a way that makes you not just hear, but feel. He has incredible range. In addition to his voice, he lends the guitar to this sound. Creative and symphonic. On keys is Ryan Dempsey. And OH the keys on this record. He has a presence on these songs that carries you somewhere else. Keys either sit in the background and decorate a song or they come out front an march along with it, throwing batons and confetti. Dempsey is no decorative keyboardist. He lends his talents to the music like brush strokes. It's one of the things I really like about this record. Listen to Amidst The Myst. It's gorgeous.

Brook Jordan is tops on drums and percussion. For someone like me who has immersed herself in the scene that I have, hearing someone bring those familiar hits and beats in such a smooth and different form is something that makes me smile so huge. But then he has a style that I don't know like I know reggae and rocksteady. It's these beats that synch up perfectly with the bass. Light touches like rain drops and then rolls like thunder. Again...listen to Amidst the Myst. Speaking of bass by the way, our final corner in this tower of awesome is Zdenek Gubb. The bass lines in this entire record are incredible. I married a bass player. I have become sort of a bass snob. I admit it. Gubb's got it down. He layers so well in between the drums and keys, it's like finely woven silk. It's a perfect mixture of deep groove and hard beat and the bass in these songs calls to you.

Have I gushed enough? One last suggestion, especially to my fellow devotees in the ska and reggae scene. Listen to Polluted Beauty. It's got the groove. The horns. The chat. It's got the perfect singalong hook. This song is everything I love about music. It hits hard while it sings you lullabies. Thank you, Twiddle. Thank you for being that breath of fresh air.

I can't wait to get out there and see you do this live.

Head on over to Twiddle's website and get yourself the album. I cannot recommend it enough







Comments

  1. So I listened to Done! Maybe not life changing for me, but very cool - amazingly 'tight' band and nicely effective cross-over genres - several in this one song (dare I say 'pluralism'?). They are eminently likable, and so I wonder why they aren't more visible? It seems like this kind of eclecticism would be easily understood by many - and offer a fresh perspective over the typical 'pop/hip-hop' that is mainstream music today.

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