Twin Forks

Twin Forks EP

Written by: TL on 14/10/2013 16:49:25

Normally it falls on writers like me to take a band's essence and put in words in a way that tells music fans what they need to know, but when it comes to Twin Forks, the fresh new side-project from Dashboard Confessional- and Further Seems Forever frontman Chris Carabba, I don't think I can explain the group any better than the band's own website already does. After admitting to spending most of his impressive career trying to be original as opposed to channelling his early love for folksy artists like "Cat Stevens and John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot", Twin Forks is the outlet through which Carabba finally succumbs to playing; "Whatever makes the audience stomp their feet and sing at the top of their lungs" - Armed with some slick, self-taught finger-playing and a group of new friends to align Twin Forks as a band that, like Dashboard Confessional, is only semi-acoustic.

Speaking of new friends, it was actually the collaboration with singer/mandolin-player Suzie Zeldin from The Narrative that got me interested in the first place, because I figured that combining Zeldin's promising work with The Narrative with Carabba's obvious talent would be a must-check-out. Completed by Jonathan Clark on bass and Ben Homola on drums however, the constellation still clearly casts Carabba as the main singer on the band's first "Twin Forks EP", so while Zeldin is plainly audible in the backup harmonies, anyone hoping for more elaborate boy/girl vocal interplay will have to curb their enthusiasm.

Fortunately then, it seems Carabba has applied his dependable efficiency to the songwriting in Twin Forks, with the record immediately offering a song in "Back To You" that is indeed primed towards hand-clapping, foot-stomping and singing along, intertwining acoustic guitar and violin in a very Mumford & Sons-ish dynamic that comes across easily and charmingly. And that is essentially the formula for the record, with "Something We Just Know" following the same path, similarly extending words' final cyllables into infectious whoa-ohs while Carabba applies his increasingly masterful gift for making his delicate vocalwork into storytelling as much as into plain old singing.

While fourth track "Can't Be Broken" offers perhaps the best refinement of this very approach however, the completion of the EP with mellower, whistle-hooked "Cross My Mind" and the almost square-dancing "Scraping Up The Pieces", does eventually round "Twin Forks" up as an EP that is merely damn enjoyable within the tight boundaries of its concept. While Carabba's lyricism compares to a Brian Fallon's in its warm, sentimental Americana, his persistant enthusiasm and hopefulness does get a bit one-sided on a record that actively strives to be exactly that. So while "Twin Forks" is extremely likeable and contagious on its own terms, one also wonders if the band isn't confining itself too much at this early juncture with this self-imposed traditionalism. Might the novelty wear off when we get over Carabba lending his much loved vocals to songs that admittedly sound a lot like Mumford And Sons? I suppose the skeptical will find out in time, while more easygoing listeners will likely hum along to this happily on any opportune occation.

Download: Can't Be Broken, Back To You
For The Fans Of: Chris Carabba, Mumford And Sons, Of Monsters And Men,

Release Date 17.09.2013
Dine Alone

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