It seems like forever since we last heard from Twin Tigers; it’s been almost 3 years since we first got our hand on Gray Waves. But, the wait was pretty well worth it, as Death Wish sees the band holding onto some of their old sound, while still forging ahead with new ground. There’s still that expansive wall of noise, though the band has refined it a bit, allowing their pop sensibility to completely shine through with a darker edge.
The brooding sensation from the band is still intact, witnessed by the impending doom that opens Death Wish on “Racecar.” Atmospheric noise opens before the drums roll heavily through the mix. Vocals have a dark dosage of echo-y distance placed atop, which provides listeners with the sensation of impending doom. I fully expected the band to blast off into a wall of noise at some point, yet they don’t; I like the use of restraint. However, almost immediately they flip things on you, giving you the poppiest song they might have written to this day. Matthew Rain’s vocals seemingly hang in the hair, while the off-kilter drumming is blended with dashes of electronics. It’s a sign of things to come, at least as the album is considered.
“Opana” opens with an electro pulse, before the song takes on a completely macabre throb to it. It’s a sensation that seems designed to mess with your head, as shattering noise occasionally bursts through the background. But, Rain enters with a vocal swagger that displays the new territory where the group aims to venture towards: pop meets death. My personal favorite on the album comes when Twin Tigers unleash “Death Wish,” the album’s title track. Aside from the first track, it’s the only other tune where I really feel like I can expect a barrage of noise in the live setting. The sharp-edged guitars and the drum work, along with Rain’s voice, seem primed for a full on explosion. Perhaps this was the middle ground where the group thought they could best excel, and they’re right; the song is not entirely noisy, yet not entirely pop–therein lays one of the problems that exists on Death Wish.
Too often the band finds their record treading that middle ground between heavy-handed noise rockers and pop-experimentalists. While it makes the brighter moments on the record stand out strong, it also lets a little too much light on the weaker spots such as “Transition.” Of course, this is just an opinion, as I’m curious as to where the future of the band goes from here. They’re straddling a bit between two genres, and it’s successful at times, and not so much at others. It makes Death Wish a great listen, but also one that’s perplexing, especially to old fans. If you need a light at the end of the tunnel, make sure you make it all the way to “Holiday.” It flirts with the band’s balance between their musical hearts, sprawling with sharp guitar chords, soft vocals and that explosive energy the band harnesses for too long on the record; it also closes beautifully. Here’s to hoping that Twin Tigers find that perfect mixture, as the majority of this album shows they’re still a band you’ll want on your playlists.