SOUND: ALTERNATIVE / COUNTRY
Second single ‘Sweet Marie’ kicks off proceedings with a lecherous bang. An instantly memorable chorus and equally inviting backing “coo’s” and yelps succeed in getting you onside early, as co-lead vocalist Giuliano Ferla struts and frets through debaucherous confessions. This is the most fun the boys have with their theme, and is sure to become a live favourite. Before the last chorus is done ringing in your ears, ‘Together Lonely’ sweeps in with rolling drums and Ennio Morricone guitars. Danny Eucalyptus’s gravely warble bleeds pathos, while Ferla finds a smooth soulful line. The pair spar and interlock seamlessly at numerous junctions throughout, never jarring and always natural in their trading lines.
“I’m no better than any sinner, I will get what I deserve,” laments Eucalyptus on the stomping title track, Ferla ghostly from afar. It becomes apparent early on that both narrators have dug deep lyrically to fill out these songs. Self-loathing runs rampant throughout the record, often juxtaposed with high falsetto backing and driving or upbeat rhythms. It’s destructive and unavoidable as the singers beg and plead for forgiveness whilst knowingly walking towards their burning temptations. The heaviness of this material has sunk lesser musicians, but the band manage to find remarkable space in all aspects of the songwriting, letting thoughts breathe and instrumental phrases wilt with a tenderness that is frequently moving.
‘Wasting Time’ is both furious and embarrassed, Eucalyptus spitting raging verses around a JJJ indie pop chorus that sticks out like a strange deformity, only to be instantly embraced. It’s a bold choice that succeeds in winning you over with its strangeness. Like any honey-eyed romance, ‘Float Away’ begins sunny and optimistic - “it felt strange that I could care that much about someone” - before turning down the darker road that an astute listener would see coming considering its company on the record. The band dust off their old horns for a backseat role on ‘Fast As Love’, a Cave-esque murder ballad. “We will look so good in photos!” snarls Ferla, “I will build a love that will tear you apart”. St Nick’s shadow stands long and tall over much of ‘Badlove’, so much so that ‘Deadbeat Blues’ might even be first cousin of dark classic ‘Red Right Hand’. This said, Twin Beasts refuse to merely ape their idols, instead growing and infusing their own spirit into something entirely new. The masterstroke comes on the album’s final cut beginning with a held organ. ‘Let It Die’ is an uplifting postscript that is breathtaking in its conclusion; open-ended and final all at once.
Sleazy, insecure, swaggering, tender and violent all come to mind when trying to pin down the ‘Badlove' listening experience.
Twin Beasts have delivered a strikingly complete album. Mature, raucous and critical, ‘Badlove’ is darkly honest storytelling achieved through catchy melodies and neat production. For a group that wears its influences on its sleeves as proudly as they do, they consistently achieve great originality. The outlaws have hung up their guns and reached for a different set of strings. A true album’s album, this release is even more rewarding when digested in one sitting, and stands up as an early contender for the best Australian release of the year. Be sure to catch the boys on the road when they head around the country in June.