Twin Sister’s debut EP Vampires with Dreaming Kids was one of the best finds in 2009, (still) available for free download at the band’s website. The New York five-piece demonstrated impressive range in four songs showcasing a New-meets-Old World sensibility: the EP alternated between the finger-picking Americana of “Nectarine” and the post-everything Krautrock of the tart “Ginger” without missing a beat. Songstress Andrea Estella’s dusky contributions seemed to announce the arrival of a significant young vocal talent, but it’s difficult to draw firm conclusions from four tracks. The EP was meant to entice – and that it did – whetting the general appetite for a full-length follow-up. Well, the follow-up has arrived. Though not full-length (just under 30 minutes), Color Your Life continues to develop the remarkably mature hybrid post-rock sound that’s a little this, a little that, and a whole lotta awesome.
Twin Sister seems built to defy genres. “The Other Side of Your Face” crafts a sweet pop tune out of a steady drumbeat and a Krautrock drone. The slow to medium tempo of “Lady Daydream” with its sparkling motifs is a twangier, countrified version of the New Wave ballad. There’s even straight-up disco in “All Around and Away We Go”, plus the laidback freak-out of the spacey instrumental “Galaxy Plateau”, which segues directly into the chillwave closer “Phenomenons”. What holds all these disparate strands together? Two elements: mood and the vocals of Ms. Estella. Twin Sister is a master of mood, able to put its cool impress on every sort of material. Ms. Estella is no small part of creating that mood. Her voice is a potent mix of Hope Sandoval (QRO album review) and Cher. She often sounds as if she’s singing out of the side of her mouth in true Cher fashion, and her deep, sultry, smokey voice hangs heavy over the backing band like a cloud of sweet incense.
The internet has been good to Twin Sister and Twin Sister has been good to the internet. The debut EP circulated for free through the blogosphere, and Color Your Life, scheduled for two weeks worth of free availability (although, at last check, it was still free: hint, hint), built on those buzz-y foundations. Of course we all know that internet fame is different from real life fame. Ask the “Chocolate Rain” dude. You can’t quite say Twin Sister have blown up until they start to translate their notoriety into ticket/album sales. But they’ve got one thing the “Chocolate Rain” dude doesn’t: talent. Color Your Life is a gorgeous and accomplished essay into post-rock-hybrid-jungle love-Krautrock-blisscore-New Wave-disco-chillwave-freak-out. Not quite a complete album yet – more of a Vampires with Dreaming Kids II. But the larger scope and more ambitious brushstrokes of ‘Part II’ portend good things for this five-piece. With beautiful songwriting, delicious moods, and one of the most peculiar new vocal talents in recent memory, Twin Sister appear poised for a big 2010. The full-length album (if/when it arrives) should find more than a few fans standing in line, with wallet in hand this time around.