Based in Newcastle, Twist Helix have been at the of North East’s burgeoning DIY since their debut album was released last October. Having been tipped off about them by the glorious Bugeye, we decided to delve into the album.
Concept albums are always a bold move. Many fall by the wayside. So, it comes as quite the shock to see one on a debut album. Nevertheless, tired of clichés such as “a city in decline” and “people left behind”, Twist Helix have shone a light on the artistic undercurrent of the city.
Former singles 'Newcastle' and 'Ouseburn', although local in content, will pull in like-minded souls from pockets of cities and seaside towns that artists have bred life into (Southend and Hastings for examples). 'Ouseburn', sparkles with synth pop a la Passion Pit circa 'Manners' as it meanders its way like the Tyne & Weir river.
‘Newcastle’ though, is a clarion call to all those who thought they were alone in believing their town or city is more than what their told it is. It opens with perhaps the most defiant and inspiring opening line of an album in recent years:
“This city is not sleeping / It’s dreaming”
It's not all shades of light though. 'Little Buildings' and 'Collapse', demonstrate the sense of loss that has penetrated the social conscious of places like Newcastle in recent times. Unlike blow hard social commentators, they’ve tapped into a spirit and a feeling that paints pictures of both rage and hope. The courage to bring a poetic soul to a fight the rich will resonate the length of breadth of the UK.
Former single 'Graphite' signifies a future beyond their local horizons. Musically, it combines pop dynamism of X Ray Spex with the finer exponents of indie-electronica of the late 00s (Reverend & The Makers, Sunshine Underground). Something bigger beckons for them here.
When you look at the recent success of Zola Jesus or Austra, the festival circuit could be great for Twist Helix this year.