Featuring primary and founding members Courtney Ewan (singer/songwriter) and frequent collaborator Andy Bishop, Twin River wrote the material of their soon-to-be released sophomore effort Passing Shade, an effort whose name draws from a lengthy dream sequence in Patti Smith‘s memoir M Train while they were over 3,00 miles apart — Ewan had relocated to Montreal while Bishop remained in his hometown of Vancouver. Initially, the material took the form of stripped-down, heartbroken ballads about lost love and as Ewan explains in press notes “I always write on an acoustic guitar, which I think is the vestigial influence of being 15 and playing acoustic guitar in the basement because my mom wouldn’t let me have an amp. Nine times out of ten, when we get the band together, we end up increasing the tempo.” In fact, when Ewan and Bishop got together to flesh out the original demos, the material turned into a barn-burning rock numbers with infectious pop hooks with a subtle hint of atmospherics — and done in way that manages to channel both 60s psych pop and garage rock and the contemporary fascination with that sound.
“Knife,” Passing Shade‘s latest single is a jangling and muscular garage rock song featuring gorgeous shimmering guitar chords and a classic psych rock guitar solo and a propulsive rhythm section paired with Ewan’s vocals which evoke vulnerability and heartbreak simultaneously. From this single, I think the act will throw themselves into a growing list of contemporary garage rock and psych rock acts including High Waisted, Raccoon Fighter, The Coathangers and several others — and the band does so with a cool, swaggering self-assuredness that belies the heartache, yearning and badassery at the core of the song.