Twain - '2 E.P.s'

It’s Sunday, I’m driving back to my hometown to spend some time with family, and the only thing on my mind at this moment is my grandfather. It’s been about a year since he passed, and it still doesn’t feel like he’s left this earth or that he ever will. People come and go, but presence and influence remain forever. Emotionally, I’m still somewhat shell shocked by this loss; it’s hard to process these instances in a vacuum and, for myself at least, emotional repairs are done in increments over months or years, not days or weeks. These repairs come at a cost, fortunately or unfortunately however you look at it, once confronted with instances of loss, physical, spiritual, emotional, do you continue to love and live when death looms?

Twain is a musical project based out of Franklin, Virginia, a small town in the middle of Virginia that, although located in a different state, I would like to believe I can relate to the sentiments and feelings of the individuals who are from the area as I grew up in a small city with about the same population. All small towns are different, all small towns are similar. Twain describes their music as the song of Mt. Davidson, who is the main singer and songwriter of the group. The songs of Mt. Davidson are ones of varying influence and laced strains of Americana, all of them bubble with a strong emotional resonance, although none of the songs reach the redline in volume. Twain’s newest effort 2 E.P.s showcases Twain in two different lights.

The first E.P. (Side A) is New Miami Sound, a culling of material left off of Twain’s previous album Rare Feeling. This side, consisting of four songs, feels sprawling, vast and comforting, an intimacy reached when you’ve ascended the top of a mountain and you’re alone at the peak. “Death (Or S.F.)” is a slowly paced waltz of an adventure through San Francisco, while the anxiety of responsibilities and relationships beyond vacation still loom. The instrumentation is well arranged strings, piano, bass, and the drums all playing off each other in such a remarkable way. Although I wouldn't say Twain is as psychedelic as Foxygen this song makes me draw comparison to the band in the way it’s produced with a retro feel and the vocals are kept quiet but resonant. “Big Dog Mind” closes out the side and like the songs before it, tackle feelings of continuity, persistence, anxiety over emotional strife and remaining steadfast in the belief that love and relationships are as important to life as breathing.

The second E.P. (Side B) is Alternator, a plethora of songs recorded live in a van, and boy oh my these tunes are emotional doozies. These tracks, although sparse, crackle with electricity and emotion. Mt. Davidson is at it again with his tender vocals and emotional howls and the lyricism once again reflects on instances of love and loss whether it’s directed toward a person, place, or experience. “Rare Feeling V.1.” closes out this side and is a great example of some solid country-folk music, subtle picking, beautiful vocals. Overall Twain has created an album of reflection and through creating an album of songs that mirror a mirror, Twain has forced us to examine our own lives as well as the briefness of them and celebrate every damn mistake or loss we’ve ever had, lovingly.

2 E.P.s is out now via Keeled Scales on LP, cassette, and digital formats. Give the record a spin.

RIYL: Foxygen, Tobias Jesso Jr., John Denver, Jason Molina

Favorite Tracks: Death (Or S.F.), Big Dog Mind, Black Chair, Rare Feeling V.1

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Written by Ira Mason