September 15th, 2011 – Holocene, Portland, OR
I have eternally been confusing Twin Sister with Twin Shadow, and that confusion had led me to be less than interested in Twin Sister. Thanks to MusicFestNW, consider me relieved from my stifling ignorance. Twin Sister were a most unexpected surprise, a pleasantry made to look all the better by the reality that they were sandwiched on either end by the far inferior Blouse and the less interesting EMA.
What is shared amongst these three bands is the presence of a female frontwoman, but Twin Sister’s Andrea Estella would be the most compelling of the three. Her on-stage persona feels like a combination of New Age hippie and African dancer; she sometimes removes herself from the crowd to gaze fixedly on a point in space and sometimes executes jerky, shoulder-centric avian dance moves similar to those I have seen in so many music videos from Ethiopia. Estella draws one to her much in the same way that Cameron Mesirow from Glasser or Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife and Fever Ray do; one finds oneself focused on largely her, wondering about story and where she comes from.
Twin sister’s appeal doesn’t stop short there, though. The rest of the band, though lacking any overwhelming qualities of magnetism on their own, succeed in songwriting subtleties which humbly showcase their individual talents. Unexpected vocal harmonies, psychedelic meanderings of bass, drum, and guitar, and droning elements all contribute to a fun and sensual bridging of psychedelia, indie pop, soul, and funk that is more interesting than those labels might suggest.
Twin Sister have a record coming out later this year, and it has now become one of my most anticipated upcoming releases. (You can listen to their latest track, “Gene Ciampi,” below.)