Review: Two Wings - Love's Spring
According to the press release, ‘Two Wings are quite simply impossible to ignore’.
One song into their new album and I’m worried that this is going to be true. About 3.28 into opener ‘Eikon’ it inexplicably mutates into some kind of strangled-cat duet. Up to this point it’s been going okay – bluesy, a little boring, a little repetitive, nothing new. But singer Hanna Tuulikki’s voice has a Joanna Newsom-esque childlike (or catlike) quality that is grating at times, without the charm or sheer magic of a crazy harp-playing elf-woman to stop you just turning it off: because this is a voice that has to be listened to, or turned off.
For better or worse, Two Wings are at least difficult to ignore.
Things change with ‘Feet’, where Tuulikki proves she can actually sing. It’s a sleepy folk duet, and it’s nice (but when’s the last time anyone changed the world with ‘nice’ music?) and lasts about 2 minutes too long. The same can be said for a lot of their songs – all but one are above the 5 minute mark, and while Two Wings clearly have a lot of ideas they tend to over-develop them, so that interesting quickly becomes boring.
At times interesting almost becomes unbearable. Take 'Love's Spring' for example: the whole ordeal starts with a Kate Bush caterwaul over a medieval pipe melody that repeats itself so many times it’s almost a relief when the rock’n’roll guitar solo inexplicably begins – accompanied by some plain creepy ethereal howling - at the 4.13 mark, before the guitars and pipes join forces for some kind of hellish folk jig. The entire thing lasts 7 minutes and 28 seconds. It’s an interesting experience in the way car crashes are interesting, and not an experience that I want to repeat.
Songs like Valley prove what Two Wings are capable of when they tone it down a little – here Tuulikki’s voice has a kind of woozy, just-woke-up feel that fits perfectly over a laid-back, sprawling background before speeding up into an enjoyable country ditty (and believe me, I never thought I’d enjoy any kind of ‘ditty’). Songs like this and Just Like showcase Tuulikki’s voice at its best – she has that almost-sexy, kooky country thing down, when she stays out of strangled-cat territory.
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