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Album Review: Utopia by Twisted

Welsh garage punks Twisted release their debut album Utopia on the 19th January. It’s a dark blend of 70s UK punk and post-millennial garage rage. It all comes together in a raucous slightly chaotic blend. On the first couple of listens you may find yourself getting lost in that chaos, but as you settle into the sound you’ll discover some real gems and grow to love Utopia.

Twisted wear their influences on their sleeves, there’s obvious nods to The Buzzcocks, No Trend, Grey Matter and The Jam. Dare I say it you’ll also notice some of the riotous energy that made The Hives such a great band. Recorded in the summer of 2014, Utopia has the sound of an album of discontent. There’s an existential crisis at the core, fear of the force of love and an anger at street harassment and the stigmatism of mental health.

It’s fair to say that all fourteen tracks on Utopia won’t standout. Some blend into the background, providing a bridge between the more prominent tracks. ‘Toxic Converter’ and ‘Rubberneck Zentrum’ are two the most noteworthy tracks, the latent energy and simmering anger behind them make them an exhilarating listen. ‘Memory’ is thunderous and punk to its core. It’ll make want to stand up defiantly against the establishment – exactly the kind of energy every good punk band should elicit.

‘Wholes and Halfs’ has some lovely guitar parts and showcases the excellent vocal from Livi Sinclair and it’s almost Kim Gordon-esque quality. The band started out as guitarist Jon Mohajer’s bedroom project in 2008. When Jon packed up and moved to Leeds for university, he took Twisted with him, and after pulling together a group of assorted miscreants (all of whom now  play in Hookworms), played a slew of gigs and put out a couple of 7”s in 2009 and 2010. In 2013 the relentless draw of Rest Bay’s swell finally pulled Jon back home, where the reset button was hit on Twisted and a new line up was formed with old Welsh friends; Nick Russell, Chris Thomas and Livi Sinclair. That lifespan and change seems to have done the band the world of good and on Utopia they sound solid and like a band with real drive.

Utopia is a strong debut, it may take you a couple of listens to grow on you but patience will be rewarded. A thoroughly enjoyable album, it does exactly what a good punk record should do – makes you stand up and move.

AD Rating 7/10

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