Twin Sister: In Heaven
During the final episode of Radio Happy Hour, held at Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge on Friday, August 12, we were treated to performances by New York five-piece, Twin Sister. The band played a selection of songs from In Heaven, an unabashed pop album full of hooks and charms, to be released by Domino on September 27.
I was drawn to this music from its earliest momentsthose celestial and far-reaching chimes, old-school synth beats, and Andrea Estella’s arresting vocal delivery, a strange and glittering coo, reaching out to “Daniel”:
Saw you making eyes at me
Hotels are loneliest in little Miss New Jersey
The album’s second track, “Stop,” which plays out like a response to the opener, features a steady beat, tugging bass line, memorable guitar and synth riffs, and guitarist Eric Cardona reflecting:
Maybe it’s foolish to wanna be alone
I keep telling myself to stop
To stop and feel, feel if I like it
Sweeping strings, thunder sheets, and sweet vocal harmonies lead straight into “Bad Street,” with its disco vibe and funk guitar (complete with references to Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls”), and Estella chanting, enticingly, over and over again:
Feel it, with you, in you, feel it
From there, the band moves into “Space Babe,” which, for some reason, invariably makes me think of Madonna (in short blond hair and acid-wash jeans), then the floating, dreamlike “Kimmi in a Ricefield,” and the moonlit “Luna’s Theme,” with Estella sighing: Walk into my room / to talk / and I hear it in your voice, that sweet side of you.
It’s fun to read along to the lyrics while the record spins, Estella’s interesting vocal delivery breaking and extending words and meter to cleverly and seductively match the moods and shapes of the music.
From here, however, the album takes a strange turn, with “Spain” and “Gene Ciampi,” two tracks that seem stripped from some other context and inexplicably pasted into In Heaven’s dream. While their lyrics aren’t completely out of place, the music itself has a sort of Spaghetti Western vibe. I’m reminded of the strange twists of Combustible Edison. I like these songs, and the band performs them very well, but I don’t understand how they fit into the record.
“Saturday Sunday” is a picture of the marina, a celebration of, and longing for, the weekend’s leisure and fun. The album ends, quietly and wistfully, with “Eastern Green,” a train ride, “going overground through the I-have-knowns.”
In Heaven is an excellent summertime album, and, with its loneliness, longing, and reflections, it’ll be great for fall and winter, too. And I'll be looking forward to seeing the band perform again, as they tour throughout fall.