Key Tracks: “Rtbrfloat” “No Fun / Not 21”
Twin Berlin’s raw debut full-length comes catapulted out of a garage in the mid-’90’s. The Travis Barker-approved Connecticut trio channels underground indie-alt bands from the 90’s and blends them with a friendlier and more straightforward sound of today. The volume and the energy are high, as is the rhythm. The songs presented on “Sleazebrain” are probably going to get stuck in your head, guitar crunches and all.
The band, a trio consisting of Matt Lopez on vocals and guitar, Sean O’Neil on bass and James Janocha on drums, channel some storied predecessors. Their welcoming fuzz and guitar blasts do not sound out of place with the likes of Mudhoney and the Meat Puppets. The band is able to produce a batch of alt songs with strong, energetic punk influences and indie rhythms, all wrapped into a loud and warped sound that’s both raw and refined.
But although the band is able to recapture an image of the past, they add their own current flair, too. Where “Sleazebrain” differs from the likes of Dinosaur Jr., or some straighter 90’s revivalist bands of today, is catchier songwriting. Fuzzy guitar songs were radio-friendly in the 90’s, but Twin Berlin use more straightforward songwriting to make songs that aren’t aiming to reinvent the wheel, yet aren’t easy to forget. The band’s lyrics are more open and easy to relate to, and their adherence to conventional rock song structures allows for an album that seems to mix two different eras.
“Sleazebrain” isn’t a revolutionary album, and it isn’t trying to be. Instead, it establishes Twin Berlin as an honest and loud band, mixing punk, indie and garage fuzz with a ton of energy and ambition. The album is a punk album, masquerading behind some overly catchy rhythms. The guitar is roaring and rhythmic, the bass and drums adding ample energy. “Sleazebrain” sounds like it fell from the 90’s, but it has enough of a current flavor to survive today. The band’s best quality is their underground energy, and that’s readily apparent all throughout “Sleazebrain.”
-By Andrew McNally