The Tweeks
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The Tweeks

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"The Tweeks - The Tweeks album review"

The Tweeks- The Tweeks
The Tweeks have no problems in enveloping the maturity tag with their self titled second album released a few months ago. Rich in melodies and soaked in harmony, it showcases a band becoming more and more comfortable with their chosen idiom, simultaneously delving deeper and deeper into their favoured pop vein while being acutely aware of its boundaries.

Where their debut album gave the impression of being a product of a (relatively) time involved and thought out process, The Tweeks seems like a result of having been a band for a long time, the members all well aware of their abilities and with the confidence to knock out memorable nuggets with consummate ease. Ten songs in total make for a release that certainly doesn�t outstay its welcome and still manages to convey resolute depth, despite its briefness.

The Tweeks are most certainly students of music, and their roots are deeply entrenched in the sort of artful pop songs that made the Sixties so resonant. In this regard they are similar to Dunedin�s Sneaky Feelings, the adoration of lush melody and dedication to complex arranging being the deeper connection, whilst the similarities in supposed tweeness (extending even to the slightly perplexing choice of pink album artwork that The Tweeks shares with the Sneaky Feelings� classic debut Send You) and snide resentment amongst factions of the local music community providing a more superficial connection. Unlike the Sneaky Feelings, however, The Tweeks have not peaked at their debut, The Tweeks providing evidence of an intelligence and resolute development that rewards deeper listening.

The album structure also displays a ripening awareness of the album as a journey, the opening brace giving its audience a brash, gratifying, mid tempo almost-stomper, a short and infectious jig and a huge, swinging pop song that careens from intimate near falsetto to thrusting machinations and back again. With the bait laid, The Tweeks set to reeling in the listener with the remainder of the album, Breed Out the Tonedeaf being the first of many slow burners to illustrate the depth of the band�s song writing. There is an obvious affection of The Beatles on display here, an intelligence that works to making the complicated seem effortless. In fact it is to their credit that they have stopped trying to work as many musical tricks into every song as they possibly can, as they used to in the Sifty Chris and the Gladeyes days, and while there are multiple muso moments on display here, they are no longer the goal, more like a tool. Some of the most memorable songs here are less than a minute and a half long, but packed to the brim with melody. The song they named Melody is no misnomer either, the perfect example of a slow burner, heavy on harmonies and subtle dynamics. By the name they�ve reached the middle eight, they�ve attained heaven.

Lyrically The Tweeks tend to rely on in jokes a little too much, name checking their own band members and spurting some trite observations amongst the more resonant numbers. But their strengths outshine these moments, with Anthony Lander�s voice developing a raspiness that is one of their major forces working in their favour. And while this album marks the first release by a New Zealand band on a USB stick, it will probably only amount to a novelty factor in years to come. It is a pity that the possibilities of this format were not further explored, even a photo gallery would have been a relatively simple way to further enhance its worthiness. The USB stick does, however, give the purchaser higher resolution recordings in both wav and mp3 format which render the CD even more redundant than it already is.

It is not until the final song that The Tweeks display any real debt to their influences, the unmistakable Graeme Downes strum gracing the beginning of Passionfruit before working into a brass section ending as so many Verlaines songs have done. The Tweeks is a very worthy endeavour, marking the point where the band cease producing work for analysis and start producing work with less self awareness and more ease.


Dave Local
- www.dunedinmusic.com


"Big step forward for the Tweeks"

Busy Dunedin pop twisters the Tweeks are gigging again this month. Shane Gilchrist questions drummer Stu Harwood about songs and survival.

Q: Your latest, self-titled album sure covers a lot of moods, sometimes even within a single song. Explain your philosophies to songwriting and performance. What do you look for in other artists' songs? How important are surprises in music, as opposed to obvious signposted material?

A: Well, as I am not one of the key songwriters in the band (Anthony Lander and Chris Keogh write the bulk of the material), I am loath to try and answer for them . . . However, in terms of a band aesthetic we usually tend towards music with layered meaning/irony/dark humour.

Think the Kinks crossed with the Verlaines.

When we write, we don't usually think in terms of "surprises", as they usually sound stupid. Instead, we avoid "boring/repetitive".

I think this is especially evident in our structures and arrangements.

For example, four of the songs on the record don't have choruses that repeat.

Q: Explain the process by which you recorded the album. Were there any happy accidents in the studio? Or had much of the material been well mapped out before you began the album?

A: The idea behind capturing this album was to basically do the opposite to what we did for the previous record. We basically spent too much time recording the previous one and, in the process, lost any of the spontaneity in the performances.

Instead, we basically demoed songs throughout last year and took 11 into the studio to be recorded over nine days.

Since we'd been touring these songs heavily that year, we nailed the whole thing out really quickly and, as a result, I think the album sounds much more cohesive, spontaneous and "live".

Q: Are you happy with the final result? Do you have any favourite tracks? If so, why? As a sound engineer, were you constantly twiddling? Did your band-mates have to say enough is enough? Or do you know when something is finished? Is it a case of letting some elements remain a little bit ragged lest you lose the very thing that makes them interesting?

A: Yep, I'm definitely really happy with the final result. It's a major step forward from anything else we've ever done and, even if no-one enjoys it, I'm really proud of it.

In terms of favourite tracks, I really enjoy the production I did on Idiots Make Good Lovers and Breed Out The Tonedeaf, but I can't deny the enjoyment of physically playing the upbeat I Hope She's Not.

I actually found the album surprisingly easy to mix - it pretty much mixed itself. Because we'd put the groundwork in from the start by getting the arrangements right in the practice room, it came together without too much "fighting in post".

There are, of course, things that I agonised over right till the last minute, but in the end you've just got to sit back and say, "That's enough, it sounds fine."

Q: The Tweeks seem to be on the road a fair bit, be it touring around Otago or further afield. Has that always been a focus to take your music to as many people as possible?

A: I think we've always been a live band. The music is almost always written for live.

However, the touring is not just about taking it to as many people as possible; it's also about getting out with some of your best friends and having a laugh.

At the end of the day, it's good fun.


See them: Wednesday at Refuel; Thursday at Backstage as part of Students for Tibet benefit concert; August 22 at Backstage for video release of 160 Characters. - Otago Daily Times


"The Tweeks: You Can Listen Too"

By Tony Parker
Dunedin's The Tweeks were known as The Gladeyes, but due to an Auckland band having the same name, rechristened themselves as The Tweeks for the release of this debut album. A far more suitable moniker for a band that draws inspiration from a wide range of pop/rock influences that include '60s English pop, Dunedin bands and American indie rock. Their songs are catchy pop tunes with slightly twee lyrics about ordinary everyday life that effortlessly move from moody ballads through to indie jangle and fuzzed out guitar romps. It's an extension of their earlier work but with more variety and a willingness to explore - and that makes this album all the better. Recorded and produced by the band in Dunedin, the recordings were sent to the States for mastering by Roger Seibel (Cat Power, Pavement). He has brought out a rawness in the guitar sound as a well as adding strength and clarity to proceedings, making for a hard-edged pop/rock album.
- NZ Musician Magazine


Discography

The Tweeks LP - (2008)
You Can Listen Too LP - (2007)
What To Do? EP (2003)

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Bio

The Tweeks are a four piece band from Dunedin, New Zealand. Since forming in 2003 they have independently released 2 albums, an EP and 3 music videos. They have toured their home country 11 times as well as played shows as far a field as Australia. In 2007 they were invited to play the Canada Music Week and NXNE festivals but due to complications were unable to attend. In May of this year The Tweeks released their sophomore album The Tweeks and made history by becoming the first New Zealand band to release an album entirely on USB stick. They have just released their 3rd music video, for the song "160 Characters," which was directed by Lucinda McConnon.

Their sound has been described as a mixture of 60's British bands, 80's New York punk, 90's Brit pop and the 80's Dunedin Sound, with the dark undertone of their 1993 Mazda Bongo wagon with the choke fully out on a winters morning. Once the choke's back in they'll push it to its limits. A willingness to explore and skew conventional pop song structures and their use of four part harmonies, both live and in the studio, have allowed them to develop a sound that is distinctly their own. They sight influences such as The Verlaines, The Beatles, The Smiths, Blur, Pavement, The Reduction Agents, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Duran Duran, The Kinks, The Buzzcocks, The Ramones, v-neck bowling club jerseys, insurance claim forms, Logan's incomplete masters, and other in jokes to name but a few.

Over their career several singles of theirs have enjoyed successful radio and television play across New Zealand's B-net (a nationwide group of independent radio stations) and on New Zealand's only credible music channel, Alt-TV. In 2007 Their second music video, London Street, was nominated as a finalist in the annual Handle The Jandal awards, run by Radio Active. Their song The Harder It Gets was nominated for Best Independent Track at the 2007 B-net Awards. Several songs of theirs have topped The Radio One top 11 and The KiwiFM top 10.

In October 2008 the band started relocating to London to play more shows.