Taking their cues as one might expect, from New Zealand's Flying Nun Records' eclectic roster as well as fellow Australians The Go-Betweens, Melbourne's Twerps do little in the way to subvert the stereotypical Aussie sound, instead they perpetuate the kind of sun-kissed jangle-pop that smacks of lost loves and stoned summers. Their harshest critics will call it derivative but, if it aint broke...
Range Anxiety, the band's second long-player, might not be breaking any boundaries, but it is a woozy, doey-eyed meander through the head and heart of singer Martin Frawley, filled with lush guitar hooks and rich vocal dualities, brought about with the inclusion of guitarist and singer Julia MacFarlane; her sugary delivery the perfect countenance to Frawley's nasal drawl; the syrupy duality bringing the mundane narratives recounted in the lyrics to life.
With little in the way of melodrama, Range Anxiety is wistfully nostalgic and endearingly plain-spoken. Such is the Aussie way. Album opener (or at least the first song proper) 'I Don't Mind' is a hazy, almost listless track, that bubbles with ironic indifference, churning over stoic sentiments with an apparent ambivalence that all comes to a frothy head during the track's climax. Swiftly following, 'Back to You' sets a pace which doesn't relent until the halfway point and previous single 'Shoulders'.
Bringing to mind Veronica Falls 'Shoulders' is the record's first real foray in to twee-pop and sees MacFarlane taking vocal duties for the second time. The steadily mounting percussion and waltz-like, chilly shimmer of the guitar providing a welcome relent from the rest of the record's heady heat.
It's not always up to MacFarlane to bring about the softer elements of the album however, as proven on 'Fern Murderers'. Coming in the final quarter, this is the first real instance of the undercurrent of darkness that occasionally rears its head truly permeates the record's otherwise sunny disposition. At a little over two minutes long, it's short, but it's proof that there's probably a lot more to Twerps than other tracks suggest.
Chances are you've heard several records like Range Anxiety before, you might even own some of them. If you do, then you'll almost definitely want to pick it up if you haven't already. It's not derivative, it's familiar, welcoming even. When Julia MacFarlane's Aussie accent cuts through the sugaryness of 'Stranger', you know you're in safe territory. Who says you have to be different to be good these days?