Slim Twig Derelict Dialect Review

Originally written in 2008.

While opening for Born Ruffians at the end of April, Slim Twig had me at first yelp. It wasn’t so much the music, but his presence on stage. He twitched, jived and quivered singing emphatically during his set. He had the charisma of a classic 50’s Rockabilly star. The sound was rough around the edges, but something brilliant crept underneath. Slim Twig is a performer revelling in dark personas taken from the pages of his twisted imagination; I was intrigued. I picked up his EP before heading home and quickly proceeded to take it all in.

While opening for Born Ruffians at the end of April, Slim Twig had me at first yelp. It wasn’t so much the music, but his presence on stage. He twitched, jived and quivered singing emphatically during his set. He had the charisma of a classic 50’s Rockabilly star. The sound was rough around the edges, but something brilliant crept underneath. Slim Twig is a performer revelling in dark personas taken from the pages of his twisted imagination; I was intrigued. I picked up his EP before heading home and quickly proceeded to take it all in.

Slim Twig seems to take a completely different approach in the creation of his music, focusing on the vision of his sound and less on the sound of his vision. His music is heavily influenced by the visual texture of sound and his love for film. As much as I`ve come to appreciate Derelict Dialect, I expect most people’s first impression with it will be poor. It’s weird song structure and somewhat monotone melodies will turn people off quickly. Most will not give it a full listen, let alone the multiple listens required to fully appreciate Derelict Dialect. It’s just not what most people are used too.

The album gets better as it goes, not only with repeated listens but as the album itself progresses. The first track His Eyes Hum Hymns doesn’t impress as much as the album does as a whole. Replica and Martyr sounded like it was titled well and felt like more of the same, it’s the predominantly repetitive monotone beat that can quickly turn people off. It’s just about past one minute of this song that this starts to change. You really feel this change of perspective and it continues throughout the album. The build-up on this song is wonderfully climactic. All the aspects of the song seem to come together and mesh well in the final stretch.

The third track Drag Down the Dirtpike, dragged my feeling of hope for the EP down a bit after the brilliant second track having just raised it. It was about this time that I noticed how Derelict Dialect is very reminiscent of Liars latest album. Birthing & Birthing hears the resurgence of what Slim Twig is all about. The theme of the songs, the flow of the EP and the feelings they inspire are obviously meticulously created. Austere Gentleman is an interesting track standing out from the rest of the album with the subtle influence of hip hop and great pop sensibility. Maudlin Jack is definitely his strongest track, reminding me somewhat of a rockabilly Spencer Krug. Derelict Dialect ends with Trembletongue, an effective closer to the album. The song climaxes early ending with heavily atmospheric sound effects, obviously influenced by film.

Breaking down the songs may give you an idea what to expect but it definitely takes away from the EP. Derelict Dialect is most definitely more than the sum of its parts. It can’t truly be appreciated broken down by track, this is an album that stands strongest as a whole. Judging an album by one song is like judging a movie based on one scene. The subtle nuances and message only come through once you step back and see the big picture. It took a few listens, but I was able to step back and really appreciate what Slim Twig accomplished with this EP. It’s not without its rough patches, but it shows tremendous potential nonetheless. Derelict Dialect is an EP for everyone who enjoys an album that`s not easy to love. The potential of Slim Twig is hard to ignore and this is an artist everyone should keep an eye out for in 2008.

Score: 7.2

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Dave Loft

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