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Album Review

Twerps have the kind of name that’s instantly polarizing; actually it’s more than polarizing, it’s just bad. Which is in itself too bad because a lot of people who might be turned off by the name would dig the music. The quartet hails from Australia but sounds way more New Zealand, with a noisy strum and clatter that’s Flying Nun to the core. Think a ragged Bats or a cleaner (early) Clean and you’re nearly there. Throw in a bit of Amerindie circa 1988 Homestead Records and you’re all the way there. On their self-titled debut album, Twerps make all their antecedents proud by not just copping their sound and style but by writing a bunch of songs that hit hard and stick with you. Between shambling rockers that bump along with a commendable energy (“Dreamin,” “This Guy”), waltz-time ballads that lay their emotions bare for all to see (“Don’t Be Surprised,” “Bring Me Down”), and midtempo tunes that have clouds in their eyes (“Peculiar,” “Anything New”), the group hits all the indie pop/noise pop sweet spots and plays with a restrained ferociousness that makes it sound almost effortless. The guitars of Martin Frawley and Julia McFarlane are among the things that make the record work as they clank and clatter in unison or twine around each other in snaky counterpoint, always sounding just right. Frawley’s vocals are another selling point; they have an artless charm that provides an easily relatable entry point to the group’s sound. McFarlane’s occasional harmonies (and her leads on a couple tracks) are equally unpolished but also quite charming. Twerps may not be doing much of anything new here but that’s just fine. They make you nostalgic for an era of indie rock that is long gone but also give enough of a classic, energetic, and interesting update to make it sound pretty new at the same time. Now about that name....


Formed: Melbourne, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Australian lo-fi revivalists Twerps make noisy pop and '80s-influenced college rock that has an unmistakable Flying Nun/New Zealand feel. Formed in Melbourne and made up of guitarist/vocalists Martin Frawley and Julia McFarlane, bassist Rick Milovanovic, and drummer Patrick O'Neill, the band released the Good Advice single in 2009 and caught the ears of noise pop enthusiasts. In 2011, Twerps returned with a self-titled full-length album. The record met with critical acclaim and garnered them a wide...
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Twerps, Twerps
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