[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Fourteen years compiled into six songs, the task of this album and one which it accomplishes handily. Sequenced flawlessly from beginning to end, this is the work of seasoned veterans who have, in their own words “Accepted that we are unlikely to be be able to make a living as professional musicians at our great age, we still get together as often as we can to play with expensive toys, twiddle knobs and generally make a racket.” Let this be your guide to their material. I only wish more creative types would come to this conclusion, because compositions like this will not generate massive sales nor will any awards be wafting down from the great trend machine in the sky.
You know what, who cares, Twofish have way too much going on in their pieces to waste on some face miming along on camera. I know I know, things don’t turn out the way you’d planned in your 20s but rather than becoming bitter, this trio have re-doubled their efforts and honed the music on here to a near incomprehensible sheen. They remind me of another three guys who would not compromise from the UK who sadly, were pulled apart by the very same success Twofish want no part of. I am of course speaking of Fluke. They’re the only other act I’ve heard who operate, or operated, in this kind of space. Listen to “Radio Columbia” to get an idea and then put down the Risotto because Twofish go further and farther due to their splendid arsenal of machines. “The Magic Fruit” should give Juno Reactor fits, because ‘Zero Crossing’ are an unknown without the industry machine propping them up and they do what he should have done with his last album. Rather than capitulate to the capricious whims of popular tastes.
Out of nowhere this one came, arriving in the inbox last week in suitably understated manner. If you like what they do, they’re fine. If you don’t like what they do, they’re fine. Because they do this for themselves and are probably surprised when they’re feted for being individuals instead of a marketing focus group’s “product”. Believe me, I know what minimal reward there is in doing this but they’re giving it a go regardless and through the usage of their daunting collection of equipment – go to their site, they put it all up for your perusal – they go from pristine to primal in seconds. The funk is there, all the synthetic tricks you know and love are present and accounted for. The guitars define tasteful accenting, framing so much of what is on here with immaculate grace.
How they’ve mastered the concept of contrast with what they do is impressive. There are no muddling songs on ‘Zero Crossing’, “No Problems” definitely answers the question of how overdubs and a simple beat can interplay to get that head nodding along. Alan Wilder, I hope you’re listening to this tune, they’re doing what you ought to and there’s no crutch of vocals they hobble through on. Nicely drunken sounding brass, straight out of the French Quarter in New Orleans gets the sway underway. Compared to this, “Deep Bass Nine” is a romp into how deep that bass can get. Once again, they polish it up ever so thoroughly and then at around the halfway point distort the hell out of it all. While this decimation goes on, you are gored, literally by a low end assault the likes of which demonstrate an imaginative range you’d be quite right in fearing.
Atmospheric and adventurous, these two words are what describe them best. Every second is designed to lure you into the next and if that isn’t the bare bones maxim of top grade songwriting then I don’t know what is. They say life’s a game, right? With this album, Twofish are sitting on a royal flush with all the chips and they’ve just called. So what’s it going to be…
Twofish – Zero Crossing