Twerps’ second full-length album, “Range Anxiety,” builds like a slow and steady charge, starting with the homespun, casual sound of “House Keys.”
Twerps’ style of sunny guitar pop lightly touches on 60s harmonies and Big Star sentimentalities, creating a sound that’s mellow but not easily forgotten.
The band takes that amicable sound one step further with the song “Back To You,” brightening up the common cohabitation of drums, guitar and percussion, and defining the Australian band’s Replacements/mid-era REM influences.
Everyone in Twerps (guitarist Martin Frawley; bassist and synth-man Rick Milovanovic; drummer and guitarist Alex Macfarlane; and guitarist and keyboardist Julia McFarlane) trade vocals, which makes for a true ensemble band.
Julia McFarlane lends her straightforward but husky punk vocals to “Stranger.” Later, on “Shoulders,” McFarlane takes another solitary crack at the lyrics, adding her delicate vocals to a heartfelt and meaningful guitar ballad.
“White As Snow” uses a quirky but pretty, jangly guitar melody that’s straight 60s Britpop. It’s also the most memorable on “Range Anxiety.”
The slightly perturbed lyrics on “Cheap Education” — “I’m seeing action, but no feeling…../are you with me, or without me/ I’m picking reason before believing“ segue into “Love At First Sight.”
That dreamer of a song signals a complete turnaround from the towering bitterness of “Cheap Education,” portraying a simple romantic melody and youthful rhymes.
Throughout “Range Anxiety,” there’s an easygoing sense of harmony, of the feeling that the album can pull you out of whatever doldrums you’re in and gently nudge you back up.
“Range Anxiety” is on Merge Records.