It’s cathartic. I’m walking down an empty Florida highway, stretches of cracked pavement, humidity pulsing through the air, sunshine leaking onto palmetto landscapes. Deranged and sweating, clothes stuck to my back, a heavy-hitting heat unlike any other.
Growing up in Ocala, I was always so enamored by the local music scene of central Florida’s Gainesville, a college town only twenty minutes north of my own hellscape.
Harboring unique gatherings and events such as THE FEST, independent record stores like Hear Again, and home to genre-defying, moralistic acts such as Against Me!, Frameworks, and I Hate Myself (to name a few), Gainesville was always one step ahead of the curve.
Flash forward to our current year, where we’re living now in the world, and nothing of that nature has changed. Gainesville is still sheltering an incredibly diverse, original, and inclusive community where bands continue to define what it means to make music.
SUPERTWIN is a prime example, kicking down common expectations and creating something entirely born anew. You could use a number of words to describe their taste: shoegaze, psychedelic-rock, punk, hardcore, sludge-metal, stoner-rock, but none of those labels really capture what the band is singularly.
Morphing a soundscape that captures emotive connotations and showcases an extraordinary knowledge of music, SUPERTWIN relishes in celebratory noise with their latest record, ‘Fortress’.
Reminiscent of (and still very different from) one of my favorite records of all time, Alcest’s ‘Souvenirs d’un autre monde’, ‘Fortress’ is a cycle of versatility. Nothing is set in stone, every bellowing synth or percussive hit is encouraged to be explored, and every aspect of the piece is unexpected – in the best way possible. Heavier than your average shoegaze record, softer than your typical sludge-metal outfit, ‘Fortress’ is it’s own standing ovation.
‘Drunken Master’ comes in with substantial emotion pouring into fuzzy howls of chords, comparable to those late 80s-psychedelic rock tones. An introduction somehow combining the nature of every other track on the record, you’re prepping for a cleansing experience. Then starts ‘Underneath the Garden’, a reflective track, where I picture myself pondering over my own image in a pool of water – digging up roots in the dirt with my bare hands, searching for desires, for love, finding the soul buried.
A transition spirals into punk-ridden interlude ‘A Simple Request’, which combined with ‘Castle Freak’, might be my personal favorites on the record. Here, SUPERTWIN pauses for a brief moment and whispers to the wind; synth-scapes and static noise define this trippy, short track, acting as a catalyst towards the rest of the album’s listening experience. Percussive airwaves make room for ‘Castle Freak’, a fast-paced track that really outlines the heart of the record.
‘Ad Astra’, ‘Supercharger’, and ‘Wickered Beast’ are paired together quite nicely as well, all three tracks playing into soft, revolving motions as well as displaying the multi-faceted essence of harder instrumentals. The dualistic drums really begin to take charge and the musicianship here is undeniable. This is a group of insanely talented artists, distorting their own realities and creating atmospheres that were once nonexistent.
‘Ayuna Nuevo’ includes stronger vocals similar to those on ‘Castle Freak’, which again exhibits a really great utilization of experimental percussion and chemistry among collaborators. One of the greater guitar solos of the record is in this track and is definitely worth listening to.
Perfectly transitioning into ‘Lamplighter’, the album continues on as a defining self-realization experience for the listener. I’m drowning in dissonance and I love it. Nearing the end of ‘Fortress’, it feels more and more like the cycle of life, rebirth and death itself.
‘Receiver’, the longest track, solidifies this process of thinking; melodic outbursts, synth sounds unreeling, unraveling, peace makers, perhaps I’m floating on a throne of reverb, maybe I’m breaking through, finding myself amongst the stars, blending into the cosmic universe.
Or, maybe I’m just home. On my couch. Either way, ‘Fortress’ was a musical journey worth taking.
Buy the cassette here, on Salvaged Records.