In the wake of the noise surrounding the Beatles 50th "Ed Sullivan Show" anniversary, it would be easy to wax nostalgic about the continuing influence that the Fab Four has on contemporary artists, artists like Waterloo's Twins, who are about to release their first full-length album, "Tomboys on Parade," on Maximum Ames Records.
Resist that tendency.
Sure, the first track on the album features a vocal harmony almost identical to the one the Beatles used on “Twist and Shout.” Certainly, the second track starts with a riff and groove incredibly reminiscent to that of the Beatles' “Taxman.” And, obviously, the title of track 9, “Ardsley Lane,” just sounds like it already is a Beatles' b-side. I won't bother to talk about Harper's slightly pseudo-British accent on that cut.
Remember when Bob Dylan released an album titled "Love and Theft," but he just stole that title from a book of the same name? Well, Twins are every bit as urbane as that.
And as unafraid. Backed by Maximum Ames records, the same regional powerhouse that has established acts like Gloom Balloon, Twins bills itself as “Iowa's premiere power pop brats.” I wonder what House of Large Sizes would think of them being the “premiere.” But this lively troupe of punky balladeers can easily plow through any idle gossip about irreverence. Their irreverence is their flavor, as in the following lyrics to a song called “Big Boots”:
"He was made from whiskey, on a motorbike, to terrorize our streets at night."
If Graham Parsons had tried to work with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys on a record, it might sound like this. (A song ironically titled “Babe City” points in this direction.) But neither elder had as much energetic rage as this young group.
This record is definitely post-punk, but with a deep appreciation for their pop sources from the '50s and '60s. Its thrashy harsness is tempered by a romantic sweetness.
It seems like nostalgia. But it's more of an emblem of what's to come.
Twins premiere "Tomboys on Parade" on April 1. It can be pre-ordered at www.maximumamesrecords.com.