Published Aug 05, 2015Toronto shape-shifter Slim Twig (aka Max Turnbull) has been creating subversive pop music for more than ten years and, within that time, he's cultivated and then wiggled out from underneath various personas. When he half-joked that his early music was some kind of "concrete rockabilly," most people ignored the deconstructionist qualifier and wrongly presumed he was some weirdo roots revivalist.
His new Slim Twig album finds him pulling away from the rebellious motifs of the '50s and '60s and into the shaggier, hazier realm of 1970s riffage, protest rock and off-kilter tones and rhythms. In a sense, it seems not so distantly related to his work in the Toronto buzz band Darlene Shrugg, who make a steamrolling kind of boogie rock. Temporally askew, it's like the indulgent solo album by a guy whose band hasn't released anything yet.
That compulsion to go balls-out is tempered here by psychedelic explorations and a wilful distortion of obvious pop hooks and melodies. With subtle humour and self-referential nods (the punny title extends to nominal lyrical references to Twig), the whole thing conjures a fog. This gloriously woozy record is era-ambiguous and the sonic equivalent of a contact high. (DFA)