Twin Forks, Twin Forks

Twin Forks, <i>Twin Forks</i>

I’ve been seriously intrigued by Twin Forks since they released their first shot across the bow late last year in the form of a self-titled EP, hoping that the band’s full-length would live up to the EP’s substantial, grin-inducing promise.

Granted, it’d be all too easy to dismiss the whole Twin Forks project as yet another bunch of indie-rockers trying to “rediscover” their country-rock roots, especially since the band’s prime mover is Dashboard Confessional/Further Seems Forever frontguy Chris Carrabba, and the band includes Ben Homola of Bad Books and Suzie Zeldin of The Narrative, but y’know what? Sometimes things just work on their own merits, all pedigrees aside.

Twin Forks is that kind of thing. The disparate members of the band knit together so damn tightly it sounds like they’ve always played together, unlike a whole lot of other quasi-supergroup-type bands like this (coughThe Dead Weathercough). Right from the beginning of “Can’t Be Broken,” the album’s kick-off track, it hits hard and beautifully, with Zeldin’s backwoods-tinged voice providing an excellent counterpoint to Carrabba’s fractured, high-pitched yelp, and it grabs that whole “Americana” pseudo-genre and amps it up to 12, propelling the band (and the listener) forwards into the rest of a very damn good album.

I shouldn’t so quickly dismiss Americana as a label, though, because now that I’m thinking about it a bit more, yeah, it’s pretty much the only label that really applies here. Twin Forks has elements of country and folk strewn liberally about, for sure, but it’s really neither of those things, and it’s not straight-up indie-pop, either. There’s chunks of Celtic folk-rock, like on the jaunty, warm “Scraping Up The Pieces,” which makes me think (happily) of The Tossers, and bits of Chris Thile-esque bluegrass all over the place, too. There’re handclaps, down-home (yet intricate) mandolin and fiddle, and lots of foot-stomping goodness, and it all meshes together wonderfully to make something that damn near beats out any of the participants’ previous musical efforts.

I know, I know; that’s a tall order, at least if you (like me) happen to be a Dashboard Confessional fan. Still, though, this album’s good enough that I’m having a hard time whittling it down to a handful of high points. The aforementioned “Can’t Be Broken” is jaw-droppingly good, certainly, but so is the sweet yearning of “Cross My Mind,” the gorgeously rootsy “Back To You,” which has this feverish, heartfelt sense of joyful abandon, the dreamy “Danger,” which comes off like a Confessional song as covered by Iron and Wine.

Can’t leave out “Plans,” either, where the Twin Forks quartet turns down and gets surprisingly alluring, with Carrabba slyly declaring “I’ve got plans for you.” There’s literally no way this wouldn’t be a massive hit on the radio, and I (for once) don’t mean that in a sarcastic, snide way; it’s delicate and beautiful and sneaky all at the same time. Oh, and “Kiss Me Darling,” which manages to be fragile and gentle but insistent at the same time, or “Something We Just Know,” where Carrabba and company get belligerently, confidently romantic and pull it off nicely.

At the end of the day, it’s not where you came from or who you used to be that counts, right? It’s what you do. And by that metric, Twin Forks are a truly stellar, astoundingly solid band doing something they love and doing it really freaking well. What more can you ask for?

(Feature photo by Mike Dubin.)

[Twin Forks is playing 4/22/14 at Fitzgerald’s, along with Augustana.]
(Dine Alone Records -- 290 Gerrard St. East, Toronto, ON M5A 2G4, CANADA;;;; Twin Forks --; Twin Forks (Facebook) --; Twin Forks (Twitter) --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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