Twin Bandit – Full Circle
Nettwerk Records – 6 October 2017
It is dizzying how much music there is out there, is it not? To that end, I would challenge anyone to truly keep up, if only in respect of their tastes. In the course of my working life in one of British Columbia’s last old-school bastions of music retail, in order to offer the best possible service I do my utmost to absorb as much as is humanly possible, but even concerning my own (extremely broad range of) preferences doing so verges on impossible. And so it was in 2015 that Vancouver’s Twin Bandit and their debut, For You, somehow flew under my radar. Issued on the noted label responsible for releases from The Be Good Tanyas and Great Lake Swimmers (for starters), and hailing from what effectively amounts to a street away, they bewilderingly still did not enter my field of vision.
In fact, I was oblivious to Twin Bandit’s existence until this summer, when mutual friends brought the folk/country-pop duo to my attention, describing them to me as ‘dreamy’ and ‘right up my alley.’ Shortly after receiving these recommendations, by coincidence, it transpired that I actually met (and necked tequila with one of) Twin Bandit before I had heard a single note of their music.
Now, however, although there was a finite catalogue of just one album, I have caught up, and also seen Hannah Walker and Jamie Elliott perform twice – quite literally upon a mound of earth at a block party in my street, and at the inaugural Gabriola Island Music Festival. On both occasions they were sublime and, with contrasting personalities, their onstage chemistry was mesmerizing. So…dreamy? Check, and how. Right up my alley? My goodness, yes. Consider me smitten.
Imagine two identically attired Emmylou Harris’ with beautiful individual voices, harmonizing so closely that you would struggle to squeeze a sheet of graphene between them, delivering achingly pretty, original songs of love, loss, heartbreak and the attendant universal emotions. That is pretty much in a nutshell what Walker and Elliott do, and while neither twins or related they certainly possess that unearthly, near-telepathic skill with vocal harmonies that is usually associated with siblings. Set against the sweetest, delicate, acoustic folk-pop melodies, it is a blissful sound.
For You is a gorgeous album of songs boasting quiet power, and despite original plans to record a stark acoustic follow up, Full Circle picks up where the quality of that debut left off, with eleven songs (two co-composed with Nashville songwriter Neil Mason) that present a slightly more upbeat overall sound – but only slightly. The harmonies are just as uncannily tight, the melodies just as warm, and although both Walker and Elliott were dealing with emotional challenges during the recording of Full Circle, which is evident in some of the lyrics, it is a collection of songs that radiate energy and hope. I love this record, and now Twin Bandit are finally firmly on my radar they will definitely be staying there. Do make sure they also appear on yours.
Twin Bandit will be touring the UK in February and March of 2018. Dates will be announced soon.
Photo Credit: David Morrison