Up til now, a large part of Twerps’ charm has been their rough edges. Recording to hissy four track tape, singing songs about enjoying the “occasional quiet drink” and then throwing up on your friends, the Melbourne pop foursome have released a series of loveably lo-fi vinyl singles and cassettes on labels around the world. But now, with their self-titled debut album, there might just be a little bit of growing up going on. It’s definitely the biggest-sounding recording Twerps have ever done. Unlike their early manifestos, ‘Twerps’ was recorded in a bona fide studio, with the help of engineer Jack Farley (Beaches, St Helens).
But it’s not just the sound, it’s the songs. Tracks like ‘Through The Day’ and first single ‘Dreamin’ (premiered on Pitchfork and subsequently posted on countless blogs) contain instantly recognisably Twerps elements: the fascination with New Zealand’s 1980s Flying Nun era, as well as US bands like the Feelies and Galaxie 500. But they also contain a kind of Australian pop timelessness that harks back to the Go-Betweens, Paul Kelly and the Sunnyboys. This is something new for the band, and it’s deep and resonant.
Every Twerp is stepping up in their own way. Guitarist Julia McFarlane (once of NZ dirge-monsters Batrider) takes a rare vocal turn on the disarming ‘This Guy,’ while her high-treble guitar lines slice through main vocalist/guitarist Marty Frawley’s endearing brashness, to reveal the pulsating heart beneath each song. Bassist Rick Milovanovic is a deep melody master, while drummer Pat O’Neill provides the most sympathetic of accompaniment.
Then there are the guest appearances, such as sweet harmonies from Super Wild Horses’ Hayley McKee and Amy Franz on ‘Bring Me Down,’ and the rousing group chorale from members of Eddie Current Suppression Ring, Beaches, Panel Of Judges and others on ‘Don‘t Be Surprised’ and ‘Who Are You.’ Dion Nania (Panel Of Judges/Free Time) also contributes some keyboard and guitar flourishes across the album, while Peak Twins’ Joel Carey and Liam Kenny sing backup on ‘Dreamin.’
The album follows a 2009 EP for Chapter, plus subsequent singles on Underwater Peoples and New York label Group Tightener, and a cassette for Iowa label Night People.