Initially created as a solo project for Steve McKay (Timber Timbre, Bruce Peninsula, Allie X), Twin Within has evolved into a duo, with adventurous vocalist Alex Samaras joining McKay. The results evident on debut album Horizontal Lines are truly impressive. The pair effectively sing in unison, and there's a strings-inflected chamber-pop feel here that evokes the sound of such acknowledged influences as Scott Walker and the Beach Boys. The single "Bernie" is inspired by Bernie Taupin (yet it fits in a swipe at the CBC!), while an album highlight, "Tunnel To The Reservoir", reminds us of early Brian Eno. This is adult pop, lyrically as well as sonically, with McKay explaining to us that "the songs are all about adult life. We’re not kids anymore and it’s weird to write songs about break-ups or getting wasted when you have a mortgage and you’ve been in a relationship for 12 years." There's immaculate craftsmanship here, reflecting the fact that the record took 100 hours of mixing with classical cello virtuoso Kirk Starkey. Superb stuff.
In only their second-ever gig, Twin Within played Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern this week, dazzling the crowd (and this scribe). They'll perform in Hamilton's Supercrawl, Sept. 11-13.