Express & Star

The Twang, If Confronted Just Go Mad - album review

Fans of Birmingham's The Twang have waited a long time to hear the words "new album", and boy was it worth the wait.

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The artwork for The Twang's If Confronted Just Go Mad

Record number five, If Confronted Just Go Mad is the first full-length we've heard from the gang since 2014's exciting Neon Twang.

Five years - five years - they've left their devotees waiting.

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And one soundbite from a spokesperson summed it up perfectly when they said: "It is a reminiscent throwback to times gone by and youthful love in the 1990s."

It definitely does have that feel of yesteryear. The summery, reminiscent guitars; Phil Etheridge's softly delivered vocals; Ash Sheehan's hopeful and positive-thinking drumming.

Nearly everything here shouts of summertime beer garden slurps, happy times shared with friends full of laughter.

It Feels Like (You're Wasting My Time) might not sound like what we described above, but wait for those jangling care-free guitars from Stu Hartland. It's a breezy, flighty romp through these guys' back catalogue.

The almost-Springsteen-esque Tinseltown In The Rain might hold a little more atmospherics deep in its soul, but there's something still open armed and welcoming about how the versus weave together before a piano-led chorus opens up to hold court.

One of the best recent additions to The Twang is the backing vocals from Cat Mctigue - most notably in opening number Everytime. She bounces off Etheridge as their deliveries wrestle to and fro, and the dualling guitars in the interlude sound more than a little like that reverberating refrain throughout Stardust's dance anthem Music Sounds Better With You.

Brummies The Twang

There's a disgustingly likeable swagger to the scratching and abrasive Dream. Here, there's all sorts being thrown into the mixing bowl, including the kind of wah-wah guitars that city mates Ocean Colour Scene would be proud of. Again, Mctigue and Etheridge combine to great effect.

The electronic atmospherics in Izal showcase the other vocal addition - Rio Hellyer. Compressed, lo-fi dance vibes accompany the breezy lyrics throughout, waiting for the guitars to step in and carry the track onwards.

Pick it up and have a gander. There's something you'll notice differently on each listen. It's possibly one to listen through twice before making a decision, but give it the time to fester in your mind and you'll beam from ear to ear.

Rating: 8/10

The Twang are playing two editions of their annual hometown Christmas show this year, headlining the O2 Academy on both December 22 and 23