I am not normally prone to generalisations, sweeping statements or for that matter using widely accepted, although sometimes hurtful and ill considered, national and social stereotypes, especially for meagre comic effect. However, I am afraid that the new album from Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic has had me biting down harder than when Chandler saw Ross in his leather pants but was under a strict vow of "no mockery". "Is there nothing in this area that anyone wants to talk about?" "The pants the pants."
'Free' is the debut full length album from the Tartan Army's newest exponents of copy-cat Americanised rock with a capital K for Kerrang. If you like your pint of heavy washed down to the sound of The Proclaimers doing Foo Fighters covers with enough umphhh and gusto to fill Hampden Park three times over then go get your Irn Bru and deep fat fried battered Mars Bar for a top night in! Produced by "the legendary Gil Norton" may have some salivating before the haggis entree but the sometime producer of the cliche ridden state side latter day equivalents of Status Quo, namely The Foo Fighters, is not exactly pushing creative boundaries. His broad brush strokes and BIG sound may fill stadiums with red neck, hillbilly, Dodge driving, lumberjack shirt wearing, Bud quaffing middle America but does that make it acceptable in the tenements or at T in the park? The answer is probably, and sadly, yes.
With all the subtlety of Russell Brand, the timidity of Chris Evans and the reserved qualities of Lady Ga Ga Twin Atlantic have settled on an album that leaves you feeling like you've been given a thorough pummelling before being showered in Glasgow kisses. Twin Atlantic don't do soft, shy or sensitive. They don't do variety (And no I don't mean Victorian Music Hall or The Royal Variety) very well, or at least they've thus far not really been allowed too. This is an aural onslaught of unrelenting energy punctuated by the odd lack lustre 'lets make it meaningful' gap, 'Yes, I Was Drunk', 'Crash Land' and 'Serious Underground Dance Vibes.' (I don't know, I haven't checked, but I bet Edith Bowman's a fan.)
The title track is perfectly reflective of the more is more 'style' of production on the album. Let's throw it all in there, let's make a huge sound of barely distinguishable notes and instrumentation, let's make some white noise and 'shouty' sing over the top in a pronounced Scottish accent. Let's go for the lowest common denominator and see how wide we can throw our net to realise Sam's dream...." I would love for our band to be one of the biggest bands in the world because I believe in myself and the other guys in the band so much. I believe we can do that." The final track 'We Want Better, Man' couldn't capture my thoughts more aptly.
If you don't mind your music a tad formulaic, delivered at one velocity and at a constant volume with the tenderness of a piranha then there's clearly gonna be no sleep 'til Barrowlands!