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Thursday, March 8, 2012

LISTENING POST

Twinkle Twinkles "Twinkle Twinkles" (Self-released)


Special to The Japan Times

"Sukissukissu," the final track of Twinkle Twinkles' debut self-titled album, appears written on the back of the physical packaging and pops up on iTunes. Yet, despite being right in the open, the Osaka duo treat "Sukissukissu" as a hidden track, leaving 90 seconds of absolute silence before it. That initially seems like a strange move considering the hidden track has become a relic in the digital age of music. Twinkle Twinkles, though, embrace the past on this release, and having a sort-of-hidden track suits them. And it's not their only nod to yesteryear — "Twinkle Twinkles" showcases a group who wonderfully capture the do-it-yourself attitude of 1980s indie-pop.

News photo

Twinkle Twinkles' music brings to mind twee-leaning English acts such as The Shop Assistants or Taluah Gosh, with the seven songs making up this debut being anchored on catchy choruses full of cute imagery ("Strawberry Heavenly," "His Presents Were Tons Of Doughnuts"). For all the sunny brush strokes, though, songs like the headfirst-charge of "Secret Love" and the shifty highlight "Vintage Boys and Girls" move faster and feature more audio fuzz than any of those groups. The best comparison is one Twinkle Twinkles have already made themselves — they resemble early '90s indie-pop outfit Tiger Trap, who played fast pop using only two or three chords. Twinkle Twinkles do the same, and with similarly enthusiastic results.

Another twee-leaning characteristic, however, ends up being one of Twinkle Twinkles' best and worst aspects — the recording quality. Like the indie-pop outfits of two decades ago, this debut sounds like it could have been entirely recorded in someone's basement (it is also self-released, available in store and online at small shops such as Tokyo's Violet and Claire and Osaka's Flake Records). The subsequent fuzziness provides Twinkle Twinkles with a more aggressive edge, but can also distract from the pop charm that lies underneath. Like the "hidden track" here, you might spot the duo's sound a mile away ... but that still doesn't make it any less sweet.



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