TWINS have been flying the power pop flag proud and high from their home base in central Iowa for several years now. On every album, they have invoked the history of their genre–from Alex Chilton and Chris Bell in the early 1970s, to ’80s alternative forebears The Replacements, to the ’90s revivalism of bands like the Posies and Teenage Fanclub. While showing all your cards can be risky, TWINS draws on these inspirations in proper amounts and combinations to create something original and true to the voice(s) of the group.
On their third full-length, “Square America,” TWINS trade some of their ’60s pop punch for ’70s guitar crunch. From the riffing to the title, lead track “Hot Stepper” is the sound of a band adding some Humble Pie to their Big Star. On “Don’t Wanna Talk,” you get a boogie riff melded to power pop hooks. And rockers “I Came For Candy” and “Schoolboys ‘N Luv” make some heavy nods to Thin Lizzy.
The lyrics encapsulate the requisite concerns of power pop: teenagers and love. Sometimes, as in “Mary’s Sister Margaret,” the immediacy of teenage crushes and romantic conflict takes center stage. Other songs reflect the maturity accrued through time, reflecting a more patient, experienced love. In a world of ironic detachment and nihilist memes, TWINS wear their hearts on their sleeves, and rock ‘n’ roll is better for it.