written by Chris Familton
Piers Twomey is a Sydney musician who until now has spent time playing with bands like Grun, Quiet Titans and The Fragments. Stepping out on his own he has turned the spotlight onto a dozen indie folk songs with varying degrees of success.
There are austere and whimsical sounds at work on Strange Advice that frame Twomey’s intimate songs primarily concern relationships – often broken and damaged. The slow pacing of the music accentuates the emotional weight of the subject matter but his use of varied instrumentation like piano, cello, clarinet and harmonica builds levels into his songs that keep them interesting and prevents a maudlin mood from becoming morose. I Believe You stands out with Twomey’s keening vocal over acoustic guitar, some enchanting backing vocals and some restrained background noises and field recordings. It makes for an impressive centrepiece to the record. Heavenly vocal harmonies are also a feature of Give Up The Truth which shows he can pull a song right back to its skeleton and carry it off wonderfully. The arrangements, production and mix are the work of Tony Dupe (Jack Ladder, Holly Throsby etc) and they are central to making this a warm and inviting album. Though there is melancholy aplenty on Strange Advice, Twomey isn’t all doom and gloom. He briefly offers respite with the comparatively jaunty Open Your Eyes that wouldn’t be out of place on a Belle & Sebastian record.
It is the quirkier moments that make the most interesting listening on Strange Advice. They enhance the classic folk shapes and though there aren’t enough to avoid sameness setting in at times one can’t deny the craftsmanship and maturity of Twomey’s debut release.
Strange Advice is out now on Laughing Outlaw Records
this review was first published in The Drum Media