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Album Review: Great Divide by Twin Atlantic

Scottish rock act Twin Atlantic release their new album Great Divide under the weight of heavy expectation. That expectation is largely due to their break through to the mainstream with their excellent 2011 album Free. Couple that with the stark progression from anthemic alt rock tunes on their 2009 debut Vivarium to the polished hook laden songs on Free, many people expect Great Divide to be something special.

Twin Atlantic certainly have progressed with Great Divide, for the casual listener they will find it an easy, unchallenging listen. There are plenty of big hooks and harmonies that go towards making it an excellent pop rock album. They are particularly evident on the already released ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and ‘Heart and Soul’

Ironically, it feels like Twin Atlantic have lost the heart and soul that made them such an exciting and tantalising band on Free and Vivarium. Gone is the edge and crunching guitar, the only whiff of a snarl you’ll get is on ‘I Am An Animal’ but even that is polished to within an inch of its life, before turning into a disaster of song. Granted this new sound will give Twin Atlantic a whole new legion of fans – mostly young teenage girls feeding off whatever is popular with Kerrang!

All the magic is gone from their sound. Big life affirming rock songs full of passion are replaced with meandering Biffy Clyro-lite songs that threaten to kick off but never do. ‘Be A Kid’ and ‘Fall Into The Party’ are prime examples. The lyrical content even seems to have shifted towards appealing to the teenage market, again ‘Be A Kid’ is a blatant example.

There are some highlights on Great Divide. Both the previously released singles are good rock songs, but the real highlight comes in ‘Cell Mate’. Sounding more like the Twin Atlantic of old, the riffs are there with abundance, the chorus gets you singing along and there’s even a touch of passion creeping into the vocal. ‘Actions The Echo’ also serves up an ample imitation of the old brilliant Twin Atlantic. Tracks 9 – 15 are infinitely stronger than the first half of the album, giving you a glimpse of hope that Great Divide could end up being worthy of predecessors.

Even though there are some quality moments on Great Divide it leaves you disappointed. For a band with such potential you feel they may have tried too hard to become a pop rock band and appeal to the masses. They don’t need to look far to see how to execute the transition from alt rock to mainstream while retaining your integrity – their Scottish brothers Biffy Clyro did it with aplomb. Instead they end up sounding like a mix between The Feeling and The Hoosiers. Great Divide is by no means a bad album; it will appeal to a wide audience and probably make the band a lot of money; the glimpses of passion and energy just get drowned out.

AD Rating 5/10

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