Album Review: Twerps – Underlay EP

We live in a cruel, cruel world. Intolerable, really. There’s no words to describe the kind of pain and suffering we go through. I mean, what kind of just God puts so many painstaking months between each stunning release from Twerps? A year on from their triumphant ‘Work It Out 7″, we’ve been graced with the perfection that is the ‘Underlay EP’.

Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to become unhealthily obsessed with Twerps. At their sold-out Red Rattler show, a guy stage-dived during ‘Dreamin’, and was trying to start mosh-pits for the majority of the show. Mosh pits!? At a Twerps show!? Bit of a dipshit move, obviously, but it just proves the point that people are being driven to the point of insanity by Twerps’ music.

I mean, it might have all started with that dolewave thing. Man, fuck dolewave. If your band sets out to make a dolewave record, give up, go home, that’s probably the most suicidal way of starting a band I’ve ever heard. Your music will suck, as you’ll constantly be repeating the phrase WWDDD (What Would Dick Diver Do) to yourselves, and crushing any and all hope of originality and creating something good to listen to. Instead, look at Twerps, or Dick Diver, or The Ocean Party. These are not “dolewave” groups, they’re just bands bounded together by amazing lyrics and a knack for strumming a guitar. The ‘Underlay EP’ is a perfect example of how Twerps succeed that bullshit pigeonholing, and prove themselves (as if they hadn’t already) to be one of Australia’s most bonafide lovely bands to listen to.

“Heavy Hands” starts off the record, a thing that almost puts the catchiness of “He’s In Stock” to shame. It’s got a riff as perky as the wind of St Kilda, and a chorus of defeatism that screams relatability to every single shit-kicking nobody on the face of this planet. What kind of rare song has the ability to be catchy as a case of herpes in a porn shoot AND actually speak to disenchanted and maligned? Not since Big Star, right?

The genius doesn’t stop there. There’s the Little Miss Muffet-esque “Conditional Report”, and “Hypocrite”, a lovely love song which is the audible equivalent of an aimless Sunday arvo with a VB in hand, an existential crisis on par with deciding whether to eat a mouldy sausage or not. Twerps manage to remain disarmingly charming, and yet put every shred of heart on their sleeves, and speak with soft passion. Not to remove myself too far from my ocker writing personality (my Mac just brings out the bi-polar in me, fuck you Jobs) but the voices of Marty and Jules are packed with subtlety, and every time something occurs, the enjoyment of the music is slightly marred with a questioning of what they could be talking about. For such simple music, Twerps pack themselves with questions.

Take for example the standout track “Consecutive Seasons”. Under a bubbling jangle guitar/bass line a song which features the lines “I don’t wanna sing Dreamin’/it’s lost every single meaning/I’m so damn sick of it all”. Are you serious? Did Marty just nonchalantly and gorgeously dust off a line about how one of his band’s most famous songs is bullshit? What? Are bands allowed to do that? Are they allowed to shoot themselves in the foot like that? Or are Twerps a bunch of psychics, and foresaw a dipshit nearly derail that same song at the Rattler, by constantly knocking into me with a repeated phrase of “Sorry bro, but hey, you know how it is!”

To be blunt, the magic of Twerps is that they always manage to scrape together songs that are as ramshackle, and dusty as the engine of a rusty ute in Darwin, and yet they’re absolutely flawless pieces of songwriting and pop structure. And when I say flawless, I mean, there is absolutely no holes to be poked in there. Nothing. There’s nothing bad to say about this album, or the band. I mean, some Skrillex-muncher might think they’re boring, and that the lyrics, “have too many words,” and, “not enough sick drops”, but for those who can appreciate a decent grasp of musicianship, as well as honest, humorous and endearing reflections of Australian culture, then there’s nowhere to go but Twerps.

You can buy the ‘Underlay EP’ here through Chapter Music’s Bandcamp. It’s recommended to get on the vinyl/cassettes quickly, as they will vamoose faster than a Cronulla Sharks player getting asked for a drug test.

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