Twin Atlantic

support Monarks
author HES date 10/11/16 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Last time I saw Twin Atlantic play wasn’t exactly their best day. The Scottish band had been allotted one of the Sisyphos-like tasks of any festival: The very first spot of the day after a night of severe partying had been happening. Needless to say, very few people showed up to watch the show - a pity, ‘cause the band performed like a crowd of 150.000 was watching them. Their latest release "GLA" finally set the band up to be more than your average aspiring stadium rock band, actually dealing with some pretty noisy elements. Needless to say, I was worried that the band would once again be playing for a very small crowd, but already as I arrive a little before the doors open there are girls clad in "GLA"-merch impatiently waiting in front of Beta’s doors.

Monarks

A relatively unknown band is doing us the honor of getting us warmed up for the night. The crowd of girls have already settled in right in front of the stage to secure a piece of prime real estate for the headliners. The set opens up with a weird mix of Jay-Z’s "99 problems" and "Ni**as In Paris" For What" ending anticlimactically with what appears to be a planned glitch in the audio. Their compositions have definite plusses, counting especially some very delightful droning post-rock guitar lines delivered mainly by guitarist Matt Arnold and the songwriting itself seems to be up to par.

But vocally the baby-faced Sam Kinsella has a lot of work to do if he wants to continue as the band’s main vocalists. Without getting too technical, his problems mainly consist of three elements: Not using his diaphragm to support his tones, making his throat carry most of the impact, leaving the sound way less impactful and sounding strained. Then there are issues with the pitch of most of the songs that are constructed too "high" for Kinsella, leaving him to sing way too close to his border register for most bars, instead turning the song down a few notches to where he would feel more safe. All of this leaves him struggling with hitting the actual pitch of the tones.

It’s clear that Monark’s are an ambitious band - these are problems you run into when you’re ambitious. The songs also sometimes try to be a little too all over the place, including a song with a completely misplaced cowbell. If they want to establish a name for themselves they’ll have to work hard with creating a focus and getting the elements they decide to focus on completely up to scratch. As of right now, it’s hard to see them achieving as much success as Twin Atlantic and other bands that are currently breaking out of the British underground.

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Twin Atlantic

The Glasgowians of Twin Atlantic have tried extremely hard to become your next big stadium rock band. Now whereas that might put you completely off from listening to them, I’d actually plead that you’d still do it. The band has with their latest album "GLA" finally made an album it seems the band actually wanted to make instead of trying to follow a formula of what they thought the scene wanted. Now as for their live performances, it’s safe to say that years of practice has finally helped the band achieve their own distinct presence rather than the paint by numbers performances that many bands in this genre deliver somewhat on auto-pilot. Sam McTrusty is the main conductor of tonight’s show as the lead vocalist. It’s seldom that I use the word "sexy" about performances, but McTrusty is at the same height as Arctic Monkey’s Alex Turner, after he found out he had a libido: It’s not like Iggy Pop doing sexual gestures with his microphone, it’s more subtle - but clearly working with the crowd of young women in front.

But the openers of the show is not the kind of music you’d usually expect young women to fall for (I’ve been told I can write stuff like that because I am a woman myself). The quick succession of "Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator", "You Are The Devil" and "The Chaser" quickly sets a way harder and faster tone, including low-pitched guitar-motifs provided by Barry McKenna as well as McTrusty’s somewhat sounding like a Scottish version of Incubus’ Brandon Boyd. The set then moves into a more sing along-friendly with "Edit Me" and more impressively "Free" from the release of the same name from 2012. In this mix the catchiness of these songs are excused by the juxtapositions of the newer songs.

For a band that’s so relatively unknown in Denmark still, the crowd here tonight is pretty dedicated, including a pack of Scotsmen making up for the Danish fear of actually moving to music. They however also kindly let girls get in front of them in their drunk stupor as they yell at the band. However, there’s still room for intimacy in the beautiful "Crash Land" that McTrusty does mainly acoustic, but in the end supported by Barry McKenna on cello (yes, a cello). Showing that they fully master the art of throwing together a setlist, the band picks up the pace with "Ex El" and "Hold On" before venturing into the "hit"-section with the disgustingly catchy "Heart and Soul" and "Brothers and Sisters" ending in a crescendo of the violently energetic "No Sleep". It’s almost saddening that the band doesn’t play any encore for the crowd that patiently waits until all lights in the small venue are turned on.

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