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Artist: Twinstar 
label: Jet Black Records 
Length: 12 Tracks; 50:06

Twinstar is a midwest indie power-pop outfit with post-punk/emo trappings.  On paper that may sound promising, but unfortunately the execution is less than stellar. Dovetailing suffers from two major problems, the first of which might be part of the reason for the second, or vice versa.  Number one, the disc lacks in the area of production values.  Rather than sounding like a well-crafted "whole" it sounds like a lot of different pieces patched together and laid over one another.  The recording process is generally done an instrument or track at a time, with the final product pieced together.  But the real trick is to make it sound "live" as if it was all done at once.  This is not the case with this album.  And unfortunately, the vocals are way out in the front, hitting you in the face from start to finish.  Which brings us to the second problem: the vocals.  Despite the fact that this is indie rock, and indie-rock tends to be very forgiving in this area, Jim Hanke's lead vocals leave a lot to be desired.  Now I'm not sure whether its just his voice I don't like, or whether it would sound much better if it were more understated in the final production, but this disc is what it is, and it ain't great.  There are even a few songs that are just unlistenable.

Having said that, I'd like to think that this band has a little bit of promise, with some pretty darn good songwriting as a foundation.  On the opening track "Mistakes Make the Man," they are quite creative with lines like:  "She's lengthening her lashes now for someone who fills your shoes much better than you."  I like that.  And the album covers a lot of ground, mostly in the bittersweet realm of lost love.  Musically, the best cut is "The Spark," though it sports some of the weaker lyrics on the disc.

There is something about this band that makes me want to wait them out and give them another chance down the line.  They just aren't quite there yet.

Ken Mueller  1/31/03

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