By Jake Paxton
Toronto-based indie-pop artist Slim Twig presents his fifth LP, Thanks For Stickin’ With Twig; a look into his strange word laden with lots of vintage samples and experimental architecture. It is difficult to place the genre without giving up and relinquishing to the simple umbrella of “experimental indie”. On the surface, the album seems to be meant to have a flow like a P90X workout regimen, targeted towards muscle confusion. It keeps you alert with abrupt song endings and ever shifting song structure and genre-bending foundations. This is his first release since 2012’s A Hound at the Hem, his most critically acclaimed release thus far.
The album begins with the single from the album “Slippin’ Slidin’”. The title makes me think of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” especially the line from the song “Slippin’ and a slidin’.” Since Violent Femmes’ “Good Feeling” has an almost identical line, it makes you wonder what this obsession is with slippin’ and slidin’ in music culture. The song is semi-danceable and makes one think of music they might play in an episode of The X-Files in a scene that takes place in a night club. It flows into “A Woman’s Touch”, which begins with a sort of beat you’d hear in a spy caper movie, but develops into something that sound more like when Modest Mouse was in its more experimental phase.
The next track, “She Stickin’ With Twig”, a nod at the album title, is the first example of minute-long random-oscity, coming in and ending out of nowhere. This is abruptly followed with the very Syd Barrett-esque “Textiles on Mainstreet”, a track with a very disorienting marriage of chord progression and time signature shifting. There is a very notable use of low-end boost towards the end of the track which makes it feel very climactic.
Slim Twig abandons any trace of “hit-pushing” in the next ten minutes of the album as they lead onto “Stone Rollin’”, “Red Roll Red Roll”, and “You Got Me Goin’…” the latter of which is the second very short piece of music on the record and might be the strangest sample I’ve ever personally heard. It is utter randomness, and I believe it marks the end of Side A. but I don’t have the vinyl so I’m not 100% on that. But if that were in fact the end of Side A, then the next track “Fog of Sex (N.S.I.S)” is a kickass choice for the intro to Side B. It is brimming with power funk and highly influenced by Frank Zappa. From what I can tell, it may be the first track in order of the listing to feature vocal accompaniment, which works very very well for the style of the song. On a personal note, it is in the running for my favorite on the record.
The next three tracks “Fadeout Killer”, “Trip Thru Bells”, and “…Out of My Mind” are all very disturbing and feature a lot of bizarre sampling, production, and reel slowing of vocals to create a sort of “bad trip” feeling, and when you finally get used to that vibe, the tone is shifted with the next track “Live In Live On Your Era” which actually sounds like a good rock song that comes completely out of left field. It sounds perfect for a commercial for American Eagle jeans: anything that shows young, white (with just a dab of minority for the critics) youths partying or skating or generally being irresponsible with out of focus close-ups of new jeans.
This flows into the final track “Cannabis”, the second very clearly Zappa-influenced piece of music. It pairs very well with “Fog of Sex”, except that it is fully instrumental besides some subtle “Great Gig in the Sky” type vocal accompaniment scattered here and there. In my opinion, it is a perfect closer and features the best production. It rocks, and it rocks hard, and it doesn’t really fit with the whole theme of the album. It is as if “Cannabis” and “Fog of Sex” were stripped from a separate album and shoved on this one. Fine by me, as they are my two favorite tracks.
To conclude, I personally am pleased to have discovered this artist and will definitely be going back through Slim Twig’s other recordings. Slim Twig has a history going back to the early 2000s of mostly experimental samplings with live instruments peppered in, which of course is how you can describe this album.