The Great Divide marks Glaswegian rockers Twin Atlantic’s third album. It’s been three years of heavy touring and gigging since the 2011 release of Free, and, consequently, expectations of The Great Divide have been high. Following the success of ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and ‘Heart and Soul’ with the likes of Radio One, the new album certainly promises more punchy and radio friendly tracks.
The album opens with a powerful kick from ‘The Ones That I Love’, a piano led track that really allows the vocals of Sam McTrusty shine. The veracity of the lyrics and the emotional quality with which they’re sung really unlocks the door to the listener’s ears, and, if you listen to this properly, without distractions, really mesmerises and resonates with the band’s audience. Although the only track really like it on the album, the more spared down ‘Why Won’t We Change?’ provides an emotional, although more musically upbeat, ending to the album as the band appear to deal with the frustrations of recognising and yet being unable to change negativities within their lives – “We understand but why won’t we change?”. Sixth song ‘Oceans’ is also one of the slower tracks, placed nicely in the middle to provide a small break from the albums fast and heavier pace. It’s a pleasant track, again showcasing lyrical emotional vulnerability of a singer who is dealing with the feeling of being at sea and “drifting between my favourite bars” that accompany the apparent end of a relationship. It’s a track of regret and lament.
Twin Atlantic soon move back into music that they’re used to making, with tracks such as ‘Be a Kid’, ‘Actions That Echo’ and ‘Hold On’ delivering emotions intermingled with heavier rhythms and strong, if not electrifying guitar tracks whilst dealing with everyday feelings. ‘Hold On’ is let down by its aim to be a motivational ballad, yet its upbeat nature and lighter verse, as well as the strong ending, where the final repetition of the hypnotic “Hold on” ends with the power of all the band member’s voices. It’s easy to envision this as a powerful final live song, as it delivers right when it needs to.
The band certainly haven’t forgotten their rock influences, or some of the more inspirational bands they’ve performed alongside. ‘Fall Into The Party’ appears to be a less radio-coated track than the super successful ‘Heart and Soul’, which managed to snag itself a number 17 place in the UK charts, yet it also retains the potential to become an anthem for the band’s fans with a catchy chorus and positive tone. ‘I Am an Animal’ shows the band flirting with old school influences, with a heavy-guitar led chorus. The verses are somewhat lighter, guitar wise, but retain the same gravelly vocals in a catchy rhythm. Similarly, ‘Cell Mate’ opens with strong guitars before regaining the gravel and gruffness of bands such as Nirvana, albeit it with a faster pace and riff.
All in all, this is a strong effort from a band that promised a lot. However, Twin Atlantics curse may be that long-time and die-hard fans may not initially be impressed by the album. It does take a couple of listens to really get to grips with the flow of the tracks, as well as the songs themselves, but the group manage to not create samey, identical tracks, and after the second listen through you find yourself able to really applaud them for that.