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The Center of the Universe
Artist: Admiral Twin
©2007 The Pop Collective

Ever wonder what became of the odd, quirky indie band the Mellowdramatic Wallflowers? I remember seeing them at Cornerstone Festival with a couple of the guys wearing these long flowered dresses playing the single “Spelunking The Chaos”. The song came from an ACM Journal Compilation disc. Obviously, the memory stuck enough in my Rolodex to do some digging.

With five albums and a couple of Christmas EP’s to their credit, this Tulsa, OK band has created a nice little niche for themselves. After enjoying limited success that comes with the buzz of originality and enduring labels dissolving, Admiral Twin appears to have found a home with Pop Collective.

One of the meanings behind the album title, Center of the Universe, is a Tulsa landmark of that name consisting of an acoustic phenomenon found in downtown Tulsa. This is smart harmonious indie rock with a varied list of influences, with Elvis Costello and the Beatles readily apparent.

You can still hear elements of the quirky realm from the Mellowdramatic days, but Admiral Twin has a seasoned sound that is just the right amount for a recipe. I am very impressed with the production work, instrumentation, and incredibly smart lyricism.

March 2008

Bradley Snyder (thecannyshark) co-authors and writes for www.PneumaticTire.US, a web-zine chronicling the ongoing history of the Christian underground and independent rock scene.

The Center of the Universe
Artist:  Admiral Twin
Label: The Pop Collective
Length: 15 Tracks/59.41 Minutes

You're the last great fight I ever lost
I'm a blood red scar on your memory
But I'll break all your fears
And kiss you to tears – "In My Veins"

Admiral Twin's The Center of the Universe is a scrumptious melding of power pop, harmonious vocals and dive bomb rock and roll that will grab on to your ears and not let go.  Full disclosure:  to illustrate just how much the much I like this trio's stuff:  "In My Veins" from Center has been played a whopping 28(!) times on my iPod.  What a glorious 3 minute pop-rocking symphony it is! Admiral Twin has managed to create a lyrically smart, accessible yet original slab of digital dynamite with The Center of the Universe that will have you wondering why these guys aren't a household name.  Yet.  There is still time!

Listeners will enjoy the aural wonderland presented on Center.  Each of the Admiral Twin trio take turns on vocals and mix them together with satisfying results; John Russell's guitars are crunchy, fuzzy, hooky, and swirling; Mark Carr's bass provides a deep texture that is much more than just low end thumps; and Jarrod Gollihare's drumming is catchy and exotic (check out "Smash It Up").  Keyboard chores (and yummy mellotron on "Say Your Prayers") are spread across the band.

The band is lyrically tight in songs covering relationships, crappy songs on the radio ("Smash It Up"), falls from pride ("You Hung the Moon"), and this broken world we live in ("Renegade Planet"). 

Who says there's nothing interesting in today's music?  Check out The Center of the Universe for an adventurous romp through pop culture that will likely have you scrambling to pick up more tunes from Admiral Twin. 

Barry Nothstine hosts Soul Frequency Radio ( ), a weekly freeform FM radio show showcasing progressive rock, instrumental rock, power-pop, psychedelic rock, rock classics, blues, and more—great rock for the ages!

I'll just get this out of the way: I am an unabashed power pop fan. Music rife with pop hooks and harmonies, clever writing, and intelligent enough to rock without being throwaway kiddie fare?  Count me in.  The Beatles introduced it, groups like Cheap Trick, Jellyfish, and The Cars perfected it, and the few bands doing this style today seem to be increasingly ignored, which is shameful.

Admiral Twin is a Tulsa-based band, a pop/rock trio that manages to incorporate the following musical sounds into this disc: Elvis Costello, Fountains of Wayne, Weezer, the Beach Boys, Cheap Trick, Jellyfish, The Cars, ELO, and of course, the Fab Four.  How could I not enjoy The Center of the Universe?

"Good as Gold" is exactly as advertised.  "In My Veins" and "Say Your Prayers" belong on the pop charts right now.  "Renegade Planet" is lush with harmonies, and "Big Black Car" is filled with an infectious drum hook that gets your head bobbing and your feet tapping within seconds.  If you are an aficionado of this style of music, it doesn't get any better.  This is a definite top ten selection for me.

Brian A. Smith
15 November 2008


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