twinsis.jpg
Barry Hott
Twin Sister + The Morning Benders

Neumos

Monday, October 18

Last night marked the Long Island quintet Twin Sister's first-ever visit to Seattle.

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Twin Sister's Romantic Dream-Pop Outshines the Morning Benders at Neumos Last Night

twinsis.jpg
Barry Hott
Twin Sister + The Morning Benders

Neumos

Monday, October 18

Last night marked the Long Island quintet Twin Sister's first-ever visit to Seattle. "It's a lot less gloomy here than they say it is in New York," said guitarist Eric Cardona. Twin Sister is like Beach House with more members -- their music is all swoony melodies, neatly syncopated percussion, woozy guitars, glitchy synth, and, as in Beach House, it's all carried along by a strong, dreamy, and unique female voice. In this case, the female is 23-year-old singer Andrea Estrella, who last night took the stage wearing an oversized black skull t-shirt with the sleeves torn off. On stage, Estrella sways and hunches over, catlike, and her vocals are round and delicate, like a more coherent Bjork.

"I think it's time I bought you a suit," she sang on "Milk and Honey," her voice bouncing lightly over thudding percussion. "I do try to look good for you/ If you loved me, you would try too."

Estrella doesn't give all of herself away on stage. She's got a commanding mystique to her that's rare and all too appealing. It wasn't all about haze and romance -- the band played an unexpected cover of La Bionda's "I Wanna Be Your Lover"; it was blithe, eccentric, and a lot of fun. Twin Sister saved what's probably their most well-known song for the end, closing their set with the grand "All Around and Away We Go." The song was so sweeping and carefree that when I closed my eyes, it was summer again.

The Morning Benders took the stage and pleased the audience with rousing performances of "Promises" and "Cold War," songs off their latest effort, Big Echo. This is a band that excels in polished pop music -- the songs are pleasurably riffy, Beach Boys-style, and their vocal harmonies are practiced, note-perfect, and angelic-sounding. That could be taken as a compliment and a criticism -- the music sounds great, and all of the Morning Benders are great musicians, but their live performance runs into the danger of losing the element of surprise. Their set could do with less slow jams overall. They're pretty songs, but when things kept slowing down, I found myself missing the sparkle of their more upbeat songs like "All Day Daylight."

For the Morning Benders' encore, lead singer Chris Chu gave the audience the choice between a new Morning Benders song called "Virgins" or a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams." "Dreams" won by a "Landslide." I guess you can't beat the classics.

The crowd: St. Vincent was in the audience; Drew Barrymore was rumored to be around somewhere but that was likely just a rumor.

Random notebook dump: After the show, I went with Twin Sister and the Morning Benders for some late night/early morning eats and drinks and had to explain that at one in the morning on a Monday night/Tuesday morning, there isn't much to do in Seattle. I did convince a couple of them to go Seattle and get cream cheese on their street dogs. They were skeptical but ended up loving it.

 
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