At the start of every year, there’s usually a list in most music publications of ‘bands to watch’ in the upcoming 12 months. A seemingly ever-present name amongst all those names in January was that of The Twang.
Five resolutely unglamourous blokes from Birmingham, The Twang have already been acclaimed as ‘bringing the glory days of Baggy back’, dealing as they do in Stone Roses/Oasis-style anthems, and attracting an army of fans more interested in throwing beer and singing football chants than actually listening to the music.
There’s just one problem with comparing The Twang to luminaries such as The Roses and the Gallagher Brothers. That is, namely, that while The Stone Roses and Oasis had an uncanny knack for penning popular. life-affirming anthems, The Twang really don’t. While their debut album isn’t completely bereft of decent moments, the overall impression is that of a Flowered Up tribute act ten years too late.
Let’s start with those good points first though. Recent single Either Way is superb, with some real vulnerability lurking beneath the laddish bravado. Even if the lyrics are a bit risible (“it’s always your favourite top you bin, but think man it could have been your skin”), when Phil Etheridge’s Brummie cry of “I love yer!” threatens to crack, it’s impossible not to be charmed. It’s no wonder Mike Skinner has remixed it, as it’s reminiscent of some of The Streets‘ more lovelorn moments.
Debut single Wide Awake is pretty good too, even if it does sound like a direct copy of a Happy Mondays song with U2-style guitars layered over the top. Yet it does manage to sound a bit epic, a bit stirring – so much so that you start to believe that maybe The Twang really do deserve their place amongst the bands they try so hard to emulate.
Sadly though, the rest of the album is pretty standard lad-rock. The Neighbour irritates after just 30 seconds with its Kaiser Chiefs-esque ‘wooahh, wooahh’ backing vocals, and that’s before you’ve even got into the lyrics berating a neighbour who has the temerity to complain about noise and pick up litter off the street.
Yet at least The Neighbour has a bit of personality to it, albeit it a rather obnoxious one. Tracks like Push The Ghosts, Loosely Dancing and Ice Cream Sundae are insipid anonymous rock that really could have been performed by anyone.
Only Two Lovers and Got Me Sussed come close to touching the heights of Either Way, one of the rare occasions that The Twang drop the beery, laddy persona and let some sensitivity creep in. The album does end on a high though with the epic, thrilling Cloudy Room – one of the rare moments that The Twang throw off the ghosts of the past and emerge with their own personality.
The problem with Love It When I Feel Like This is that it all sounds so dated. At times, you think it could be a Chris Morris parody of the Madchester scene. It’s got some good moments, but mostly this may even make you want to dig out those old Northside records you have hidden away somewhere.