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Album review: The Broadway Twisters

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The Broadway Sisters

South By South West 2

Since forming in 2012 Bedford’s The Broadway Twisters have developed a reputation for their high-octane, incendiary live shows. Having torn up the 100 Club and Ronnie Scott’s and blown away everyone from the Ruts DC to Tenpole Tudor we finally arrive at their debut long player South By South West 2. It’s a heady mixture of swamp rock, rockabilly and country-trash that’s liberally garnished with a quintessentially English humour.

‘Night Tripper’ is the lively opener and, by way of a calling card, it’s the perfect introduction to The Broadway Twisters. With a strong backbeat and an infectious groove it’s the type of song that’ll snare you immediately, and when the guitar solo erupts mid-song it’s suitably effervescent. ‘Fender Car Disaster’ follows in a similar fashion with lyrics and music combining to create a vivid cinematic feel. Slightly off-kilter, it reminds me of a John Waters film [Cry-Baby] and evokes images of 50’s diners, beehives and drive-ins occupied by juvenile delinquents.

Replete with handclaps ‘You Give Me Nothing’ passes through like a runaway locomotive, and there’s no sign of slowing down as ‘Girl With a Gretsch’ follows hot on its heels. It’s a rather surreal tale of Jesus and Satan out cruising bars which is swept forth by some powerful drumming and a nice twang on the guitar. Exploring the nihilistic cool of the infamous Japanese film director, ‘The Madness of Suzuki Seijun’ was the lead single, and with its surf-infused guitar and slapped double bass, it’s a riotous cornucopia of cool.

Guitarist and vocalist Adrian Stranik and bassist Bill Mann make up the core of The Broadway Twisters [with a succession of guest drummers on the album], and their sound is deeply rooted in classic rock n’ roll. Yet they also draw upon contemporary influences which gives South By South West 2 an air of refreshing originality. If Eddie Cochran had read Jack Kerouac whilst experimenting with LSD I’m pretty sure the outcome would’ve sounded a lot like  ‘L.V Hookers’.  Full of invention, the addition of blues harp on ‘Probably North 10th Street’ is a stroke of genius and such decisions elevate the Twisters above their peers.

‘Any Dope (Can Pull a Gun)’ is quick on the draw and pulls out all the stops with rapid-fire riffs alternating with blistering solos. In an abrupt change of pace the dark and sinister ‘Crack, Baby’ is akin to stepping inside a smokey New Orleans opium den. Stark guitar lines juxtapose tinkering keys as Adrian’s whiskey-soaked voice floats atop, whilst Bill leaves a tempting trail of notes. The Urban Voodoo Machine’s classic ‘Cheers for the Tears’ is punctuated with a series of electric shocks and ensures we depart as we arrived: in a blaze of guitars.

Peter Dennis

South by South West 2 is out now via digital platforms, and coming soon to vinyl

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