Mr Twin Sister: Al Mundo Azul album review

Mr Twin Sister anticipates trends with alarming precision: Their eponymous 2014 escape merged R&B with low-key nocturnal dance music years before Okay Kaya and Erika de Casier became indie darlings, while Salt, the band’s follow-up to 2018, incorporated tasteful 2-step beats and lush jazz textures even before PinkPantheress hit their A-level. Slowly but surely, Andrea Estella, Gabel D’Amico, Udbhav Gupta and Eric Cardona’s distinctive sensibility has made its way into the spirit of the times. In 2021, the back catalog of Mr Twin Sister sounds better than ever.

The group’s fourth album, Al Mundo Azul, does not deviate from the sound of Salt as much as finding the next mutation in its genomic sequence, largely abandoning the rippling tones of 2010s dance pop in favor of the spooky neon lights of Danceteria. Dub-influenced tracks and psychedelic synth flashes still abound, but the unifying presence on Al Mundo Azul is an exuberant disco variety that sounds as if it was originally four planets left of the disco revival led by Dua Lipa in 2020. At the center is Estella, the band’s forever conflicting protagonist, whose devious vocal style and vagabond – that of a disco diva after a few shots of too much ketamine – belies the lyrics about the American cult of youth, tech addiction and social disconnection. .

To his favorite, Al Mundo Azul captures the liberated thrill of disco and house without resorting to a simple recreation. “Expressions” plays like “I’m Coming Out” as covered by Fever Ray, a sweaty synth squelch rubbing against the song’s chic strut. The whole song takes place in the moments leading up to a connection, channeling the electricity to wait at home for the phone to ring. The rhythm of Estella’s voice – melismatic and ecstatic at one second, staccato and energetic the next – conveys tension and release: “All of this is waiting / I want you / And I love how it feels / When you do. ‘approaches.” Estella has a flair to inhabit anticipation of all kinds: “Polvo”, one of the band’s first songs written entirely in Spanish, explores the grotesque wonder of the human life cycle. “Cualquier cosa podría estar en el polvo / Una semilla y los muertos (Everything could be in the dust / A seed and the dead)”, they sing. It’s a huge and potentially moody subject, but Mr Twin Sister approaches it with playfulness and verve, adding telescoping synth sounds and cartoonish drum fills that make the whole thing feel like light work.

Al Mundo Azul is full of centerpieces like “Polvo”, but tracks that stray from the album’s ultra-saturated palette tend to slow its momentum. The “Fantasy” opener is half-overloaded, irregular drum beats and Estella’s slippery voice create a sense of panic that seems hazy and inconsistent. “The Pine Tree”, a sax heavy dub track, is a frustrating and stagnant interlude between “Diary” and “Despoil”, psychedelic and curious house songs that are among the best of the group. These vignettes might have worked if the haunting rhythms of songs like “Polvo” weren’t so deeply intoxicating. The disco clearly suits Mr Twin Sister. By now, however, they’ve probably moved on with a spring in their step.

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