The most drastic shift in the style of Los Angeles’ Twitching Tongues occurred between LPs ‘In Love There Is No War’ and ‘Disharmony’. With the latter certainly prompting a degree of conflict amongst the band’s fans, with some left alienated. Inner-strife followed with all the group’s members, barring the founding brothers, Taylor and Colin Young, taking their leave after the record’s release.
With new recruits Sean Martin (guitar), Alec Faber (bass) and Cayle Sain (drums) on board, ‘Disharmony’’s follow-up, ‘Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred’, may now prove a critical juncture for the band. And there is no shortage of ambition on show on ‘AWOL (State of the Nation)’, opening with atmospheric, crystalline acoustic guitar before journeying through various tempos, rhythms and directions.
The venom of ‘Harikiri’ and the anti-Trump ’T.F.R’ is embellished through saturated and reverb-soaked production, but they nonetheless feel a little hollow, notwithstanding a couple of notable and well-judged riffing sections. ‘Forgive & Remember’ is particularly forgettable musically, its dark humour not quite salvaging a weak middle portion of the album.
‘Long Gone’, a piano-led ballad that highlights Colin Young’s ability as a vocalist, is a stand-out that is tellingly out of keeping with the rest of ‘GPTPH’. The ethereal, almost churchlike quality of his low section is impressively effective. It is far more memorable than the meandering, overlong ‘Defection (Union of the State)’ that closes things.
The album title is a paraphrase of philosopher Eric Hoffer, who said: “passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life”. Said “hatred” may be directed at departed fans and band members, but in these tracks, the vitriol rarely comes across as passionate. There is enough evidence, however, that Twitching Tongues could rather regain purpose through variation, scale and subtlety.
‘Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred’ by Twitching Tongues is out now on Metal Blade Records.
Words by Peter Stewart (@PeteStew_)