. issue II : ii .

by barathron

. artist : twinkranes .
. album : spektrumtheatresnakes .
. year : 2009 .
. label : finders keepers .
. grade : a .

Twinkranes’ Spektrumtheatresnakes (2009) enthralls the careful and intent listener. At the most casual level, the release is enjoyable background music and compositionally solid. But going deeper with the seven tracks will open a journey in sound that will rock your face off. You can feel the krautrock elements and even some dark-wave approaches, but Spektrumtheatresnakes works with eminent textures: blendings with fine keyboard tapestries; trancelike, tightly off-kilter rhythms; bass-guitar rumblings; and clever, memorable vocals. It is a lesson in restraint, subtlety, and release.

The opening instrumental track, “High Tekk Train Wreck,” creates the impression of a car chase in which you finally outwit your pursuer under a railroad bridge at top speed. “Train Wreck” is a good album-opener, initiating the eardrums to Twinkranes’ ethereal feel. The subsequent tracks will jump-start the woofers, spin off into a totally unique direction, and then fade into the record, leaving you in Spektrumtheatresnakes’ rhythmic sunset.

“They rightly proclaim themselves as machine-driven psychedelia, and this Dublin trio lays it down in their own Frankenstein-monster fashion, with a nod to the early 70’s chug-alongs like Neu or even Harmonia at their most focused. Spektrumtheatresnakes is a beast that puts a fresh face on this genre and properly melts yours.

The last two songs close the album as a sort of suite. “Put Up A Light” reaches the peak of density: with a two-minute wall of well-timed dizzying thickness that hurls you to the edge of the precipice, hangs you over the edge, and pulls you back just before your heart drops in the sonic chasm. Next, “Spores” leads you down a cryptically-worded path; reminiscent of Lovecraft or of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” it would be the perfect soundtrack for your next midnight trip to the graveyard.

A listener willing to go the distance with this band will be transported to a rewarding plane of subtle textures that become more interesting with repeated plays. Further, engrossed listening will bring the realization that these gents aren’t just rock musicians but music craftsmen. Every time I go away from this and come back, I learn more, appreciate more, and then, next thing you know, I’ve played it three times in a row…again.

by Phil D