Twin Sister has been making waves around Brooklyn for some time, but caught our ears when their debut LP, In Heaven, popped up on best of 2011 lists. Ever since, we’ve been crushing hard on their sound, an eclectic blend of dance-rock grooves, twangy guitars and dreamy synths that swirl around the quirky, shape-shifting voice of singer Andrea Estella. Although the album generated lots of positive attention, the band remains rather elusive, especially for an age in which it’s not unusual to see what a band ate for lunch on Instagram. They kicked off a mini spring tour at Bushwick’s very own Silent Barn the night of Saturday the 11th, so naturally we jumped at the chance to catch a glimpse of this mysterious band and finally see them perform live.
My own personal favorite Twin Sister song is “Stop,” and it’s a good primer on how they combine the diverse elements of their sound to produce addictive, head-bobbing tunes that occasionally recall the soundtrack to beloved NES game of my youth, Kirby’s Adventure. In Heaven was all I listened to for weeks after its release, and I’ve been on the lookout for news of the new releases I’ve craved ever since. Unfortunately, information of any kind about the Long Island-based band is scarce. Twin Sister can seem almost intentionally aloof, like they’re posing as the kind of withdrawn dreamers you’d expect to be the architects of the strange and wonderful world their music inhabits.
While the band’s public image might seem withdrawn, their presence at the Silent Barn show was nothing of the sort. Lead singer Andrea was mingling with the crowd before the opening set provided by Empress Of (who was phenomenal, by the way), and I took it as an opportunity to find out what’s going on with the band. Andrea was very friendly and graciously willing to bring a curious fan up to speed on the state of the band. In a few minutes, I learned more about the band’s plans than I could have hoped to in several hours of Google searching. Andrea described the band as being in a sort of nebulous, transitional phase after parting with their former label, Domino Records, and this could partly explain the information vacuum surrounding the band. The good news, though, is that Twin Sister is getting ready to release some new recordings. They’re still debating whether it will be a full-length album or a pair of EPs, but either way, Andrea told me to expect a new release by “sometime this autumn.” You heard it here first.
Their live performance also rebuked any simple notion of the band as withdrawn dreamers. Sure, there were a couple of introspective numbers, but this was mainly a high-energy affair featuring a bunch of new tunes that amped up the disco and dance-rock influences already present in some of their songs. Their set emphasized rhythm from the get-go, with bassist Gabe D’Amico and drummer Bryan Ujueta laying down the first of many syncopated grooves in the set opener. Even guitarist Eric Cardona picked up sticks from time to time to play the mini-toms and tempo blocks that surrounded him. For a 5-piece, it’s remarkable how indispensable each member of Twin Sister is to the band’s sound. Dev Gutpa conjured digital magic on keyboards while Andrea, perched on a chair for lack of a stage, captivated the crowd with her whimsical charisma.
For many in the audience, the dance urge was irrepressible, and we can safely report that Twin Sister’s new material seems to be heading in a more party playlist-friendly direction. Still, we expect they’ll take advantage of the creative possibilities of the recording studio to explore the inner geography of the new songs. With any luck, we’ll find out this autumn. In the meantime, check out their website for information on upcoming shows. They’ll be back in Brooklyn playing at 285 Kent on June 13th.