– featured image courtesy of karen sofia colon –
the new york quartet mr twin sister has, in a relatively quiet manner, released one of this year’s finest albums. salt, the band’s first full-length in four years, is incredibly measured and rich, its nine tracks pulsating with a singular blend of jazz-inflected electronic pop, mood music for tumultuous times.
grounded in andrea estella’s fluid contralto timbre and featuring the titular marionette on its cover, salt is striking, both aurally and visually. opening number “keep on mixing” is very much in the foreground, its commanding heartbeat throbbing as estella’s lead vocal contorts itself around a bleak lyrical outlook, elastic in its exploration of syllables and contour as it unearths fleeting silver linings.
elsewhere, mr twin sister let themes of consumerism soak into successive tracks; most prominent throughout the slinking “buy to return,” material lust is also on the periphery of the soothing electric piano soundscape of “koh-i-noor” and dovetails with admissions of insecurity on “tops and bottoms.”
if estella’s vocals are the album’s focal point, it’s only because the support structure settles so effortlessly into place. gauzy keyboard textures and syncopated percussion (the latter often courtesy of pablo eluchans) are standard fare; the aqueous and complex landscapes that populate “deseo” and “set me free” are particularly memorable. augmenting that electronic foundation is eric cardona’s saxophone work, the defining timbre of “alien fm” and the cool eventual conqueror of the stuttering, brassy “taste in movies.”
with ambitious and honest thematic explorations slotted alongside exquisite instrumentation and musicianship, the latest from mr twin sister is a rewarding experience, a fitting sonic nightcap for an exhausting year. salt is out now via twin group. stream mr twin sister’s excellent new full-length in its entirety below.