Personnel: Matt Regner (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Jordan Smith (vocals, guitar); Oliver J. Morgan (drums).
Audio Mixer: Micah Natera.
Recording information: The Sonic Factory.
Nebraska quartet Twinsmith mix bouncy, post-Vampire Weekend indie pop with sugar-dusted surf vibes on their label debut for revered hometown indie Saddle Creek. Arriving two years after their self-titled, self-released debut, Alligator Years follows a pretty similar infrastructure of punchy rhythms, chiming guitars, chirping organ, and the caffeinated tenor vocals of singer/guitarist Jordan Smith. From the gently effervescent party rock of the title cut to the more jagged and aggressive "Seventeen," they playfully explore different dynamics within their parameters, but more often than not hang out in the summery, midtempo haze that seems to be their wheelhouse. With its lush, yet breezy synth pop percolations "Said and Done," a sort of mid-twenties coming of age jam, feels like the album's sonic and emotional centerpiece, surrounded on either side by similar pop musings that hover on that edge of summer where good times are still being had, but real life looms in the wings. The tone becomes decidedly more introspective by the album's end, which concludes with the slow-building standout "Dust" and the poignant, mightily reverbed piano ballad "Carry On," the slowest and sparest of Alligator Years' ten offerings. It's nice note to end on and is all the more memorable for its heartfelt quality that isn't quite so apparent on the album's more easygoing front half. Twinsmith are capable craftsmen of contemporary indie pop, but much of Alligator Years feels so familiar that it's hard to distinguish them from the multitude of other generally pleasant bands working in this same milieu. Still, it's a solid enough release by a talented young band who have the potential to grow into their own personality. ~ Timothy Monger