"Benefits" is melancholy, but fun, like the best sad pop songs... like an unrequited love song to the often unreachable aspects required for a stable Western life.
Spectral, the album, is a projection but also a caution. With her “Fuck the Patriarchy” tee on and forwardlooking view, Hermiston is giving Toronto the exorcism it needs.
“Can’t Wait” finds Hermiston’s pop sensibilities bolstered by an infectious guitar riff, crashing cymbals, intricately syncopated drums, and warped synths that slowly builds in energy. The song comes to calamitous crescendo on the hook as Hermiston’s voice rings out into the stratosphere.
Soaked in reverb and echo, “Can’t Wait” shimmers like all surfpop should. Its catchy chorus, belted with a rejuvenated voice, is certainly the highlight, and the whole song should be earmarked for your “Songs of the Summer” playlist.
Today, Toronto's Twist are announcing their sophomore LP, Distancing (out December 7th on Buzz Records) with the release of the album's first single "Venus." The follow up to her 2016 debut Spectral, and the Benefits EP from last year, the release sees Laura Hermiston continue her partnership with producer Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck, while bringing her touring bandmates, including members of Zeus, Biblical and Michael Rault's backing band, into the studio for the first time.
Her first album, a collection of primarily bedroom recordings made with Borcherdt over the period of two years, marked Hermiston out as a promising songwriting voice, earning plaudits from publications like FADER, Noisey, Stereogum, Spin, Exclaim, Nylon among others, and seeing her tour across North America, playing with artists like Half Waif, Chastity Belt, Dilly Dally, Jimmy Eat World, Thee Oh Sees and TOPS, before releasing Benefits which launched a surprise streaming hit with the track "Going Home." With Distancing's first single Hermiston provides a preview of what is her most focused release to date, delivering a track that typifies the album's adventurously produced, melancholy guitar pop with its saturated drum sounds and warped backing vocals underpinned by Hermiston's rare sense of melody.
When she began the writing of a sophomore album, Hermiston took stock of her shifting surroundings in a life that exists in a constant state of flux. Examining her experiences with bad habits, unhealthy relationships, and the pervasive sexism of authority figures, she channelled these desires for distance from negative forces into a thematically cohesive collection of songs.
The 10 tracks of Distancing took shape in a series of sessions at Toronto’s Palace and Union Sound studios before their final mixing by Michael Butler (Beta Frontiers). From the squelching synths of “Places” to the bouncing beats of “Venus”, the album’s melancholy musings are juxtaposed with sonic flourishes showcasing Twist at their most playful and assured. While wistful janglepop remains at the forefront, the postpunk groove of “Waves” imagines a hybrid of ESG and The Happy Mondays, and the electronic handclaps of “Distancing” bring The Flying Lizards’ rigid propulsion on a laid back country road cruise. This genre blurring culminates in closer “Blowin’”, with burbling keys and cosmic slide guitars drifting back into a happy place they left behind long ago.
Inspired by the imagery of tarot cards, the song titles of Distancing contrast the celestial power of “Venus” against shifting “Tides” and the shaky foundations of a “Tower.” With the dawning epiphany that anything or anyone can be struck down with a single lightning bolt, Hermiston shares the wisdom that every outcome is caused by our own actions. From falling in love with the wrong person at the wrong time to selfsabotaging functional relationships and encountering predatory men in positions of power, she aims to spread a message of attaining positivity when life brings you down its darkest roads. Instead of shrinking into the shadows, she lets her voice ring out.
“I don’t think this record is making any big statements on the complex world we’re living in right now,” Hermiston says. “I write about my experiences with sexism and people who act entitled to take advantage of you because that’s what I feel like I can comment on honestly. In the past I’ve felt like my voice isn’t heard and had to bite my tongue to avoid stirring up drama. I wanted to speak up about my personal experiences while still saying something universal.”
12/05 - Montreal, QC - Turbohaus
12/07 - Asbury Park, NJ - AP Brewery
12/09 - New York, NY - Alphaville
12/10 - Washington, DC - Songbyrd Vinyl Lounge
12/12 - Cleveland, OH - Mahall’s Locker Room
12/13 - Hamilton, ON - The Casbah
12/14 - Toronto, ON - Grolsch Spaces x Northern Contemporary