Two Tongues – Two Tongues Two

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from chorus.fm for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Before I started writing this review, I felt the need to revisit both Say Anything’s album from this past January, I Don’t Think It Is, as well my subsequent review of the album that I wrote for AbsolutePunk.net. This was a surreal experience, partially because of my own disdain for the album but more so because I spoke with Bemis about the aforementioned review. Following its publication, we had a (very pleasant) dialogue about my review, Bemis’s music and art criticism in general, and all things considered, it proved to be a thought-provoking and productive conversation.

    What you must understand is just how much Say Anything’s music has meant to me over the past decade. Even now, at a time in my life when I find myself returning to the band’s later output less and less, it’s easy to trace a thick black line from my tastes today to the year I discovered In Defense of the Genre, and subsequently …Is a Real Boy. At the time, my 13-year-old mind had never heard something quite so complex, so unique as Bemis’s knack for musical arrangement and lyrical phrasing. They were my favorite band for years, and the release of I Don’t Think It Is in January, my review and the discussion surrounding it, left me questioning my growing musical tastes, platform, and the very purpose of music reviews in the Age of Streaming.

    So, following two paragraphs of exposition, what do I have to say about the long-awaited sophomore album from Two Tongues, a supergroup comprised of Bemis and Saves the Day’s Chris Conley? Two may neither be the meeting of the minds fans want it to be nor the disaster some are bound to label it, but it is a leaner and decidedly more focused album than I Don’t Think It Is. Despite a genuinely baffling mix that often leaves the songs sounding like untouched demos, the songwriting stands as a coherent return to form for the duo.

    Placed next to Two Tongues’ diverse and overlooked debut, Two is almost unrecognizable under layers of thick distortion and garage rock guitar riffs. But for all the album may lack in a connection to its predecessor, it makes up for in sheer audacity. Some of these songs are unlike anything we’ve heard from either musician before, from the icy synths pulled from opener “Azalea” to the low-end rumble that fades out the spacey, nine-minute closing track, “Black Hole.” Two Tongues’ decision to return seven years later with a complete departure from their squeaky-clean debut is certainly admirable, even if the results are a bit uneven. The songs here can essentially be separated into three categories: songs that work, songs that don’t work, and songs that would work were it not for the album’s factitious “lo-fi” production. Fortunately, the songs that don’t work are relegated to a three-track sequence in the center of the album, starting with “S.O.S.S.O.L.”

    Up to that point, we are treated with an opener fit for a hockey montage, one of the band’s strongest songs to date (“Scorpio”) and a refreshing addition to Bemis’s catalog of latter-discography ballads (“U.S.”). But “S.O.S.S.O.L.” is a mess of a song, messier than almost anything here, and unfortunately, it’s 90-second runtime only leads us quicker into the heart of darkness. “We Can Work” might be the worst song either artist has produced, featuring jarring start-stop guitars and vocals from Conley that sound like actual sobbing. This carries on for an excruciating five minutes. “Veuve Cliquot” is less offensive, but still about as messy as “S.O.S.S.O.L.” – a problem that very well could have been fixed by better mixing and a little extra attention to detail.

    Still, Two Tongues save much of the best for last in the form of the album’s three-song finale. “Bateman” bounces along the kind of eclectic arrangement Bemis has become known for just before the penultimate “Interlude Two.” “Interlude Two” is a self-referencing sequel to Two Tongues’ “Interlude,” sung by Eisley’s Sherri Dupree-Bemis, thus hitting listeners with a one-two punch of nostalgia.

    Ultimately, there’s something endearing about this strange, strange album that keeps me coming back. Perhaps it’s a longing for what could have been, or hope for what the musicians can create together in the future. Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. One thing is certain: whether or not I recommend this album seems irrelevant, because most listeners will already know if it’s for them. But even for those who dismiss Two, it should be clear that these fans-turned-friends and scene pioneers have done more than enough to earn our attention. I ended my review of I Don’t Think It Is on a hopeful note, and seeing as Two is already a step forward, I’m happy to say I remain optimistic about the future of Two Tongues.

     
  2. mattylikesfilms

    Trusted

    I actually grown to really like IDTII a lot. I would say the album is half killer half filler with "#Blessed" and "So Numb" being my favorite tracks.
     
    Dan O'Neill likes this.
  3. Colin Your Enthusiasm

    Express yourself. Prestigious

    Funny to see neutral. Won't bother with this.
     
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  5. Chase Tremaine

    theherox @oursbyaccident oursbyaccident.com Supporter

    First Neutral review I've seen on this site. Very well written!
     
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  6. Damien Davies

    fighting daylight Supporter

    I didn't like this album at first, but it grew on me. Very quickly.
     
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  7. SayHello

    Regular

    You can be diplomatic and say you're "neutral" but this album is a flaming heap of garbage.
     
  8. thenewmatthewperry

    Denver, CO Supporter

    I'm a big fan of IDTII and a number of tracks on TTT. "Black Hole" is a hell of a closer and the garage band sound of both records really jives well with my mood this year.
     
    Dan O'Neill and Aaron Mook like this.
  9. slimfenix182

    Trusted Prestigious

    I won't listen to this whole thing cause I refuse to encourage this garbage production. But I listened to We Can Work and agree with your assessment on that one lol.
     
    mattylikesfilms and Aaron Mook like this.
  10. FreshPot

    The Freshest

    I honestly really like the album, however the production is a bit of a bummer for me.
     
  11. Fletchaaa

    Regular Supporter

    Some of this album has grown on me, but it's still not what I hyped it up to be in my head. Will always look forward to their stuff tho
     
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  12. SaveTheEarth

    Coffee, Emo, Academia

    I agree with a lot of this review, and this is coming from a Conley fanboy. In the liner notes it has Rob Schnapf for mixing/mastering so this was clearly intentional but there are some parts that are just hard to listen to. That being said, there are some extremely solid tracks with Truly being one of the best songs Bemis and Conley have done.
     
  13. Jack Wilmott

    Self-described freestyle wizard poet.

    Not listened to full album yet. But really liked what I have heard so far.

    IDTII for me was a mixed bag. I really liked what Bemis tried but I think it lacked something.

    Still one of the most important and cherished artists to me. I found a lot of comfort through awkward and tough times through Bemis' work. And Saves The Day were a huge gateway band for me.
     
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  14. Dan O'Neill

    Regular

    Solid review. I feel like I'm in the minority of people who enjoy Veuve Clicquot and dislike most of Bateman. I like the album quite a bit though.
     
    AgainstMe182 and Aaron Mook like this.
  15. Hazelnutsack

    Newbie

    yeah this is garbage
     
  16. ZeoVGM

    Regular

    Wouldn't "neutral" be the prefect type of album to listen to and judge for yourself?
     
    Dan O'Neill likes this.
  17. waterloobeam

    Newbie

    Can't believe my boy Chris Conley agreed to the sound quality of this album.
     
    mattylikesfilms likes this.
  18. mattylikesfilms

    Trusted

    This record has a few cool moments but it's mostly garbage.

    I Don't Think It Is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
     
  19. Damien Davies

    fighting daylight Supporter

    I actually like the garagey/lo-fi/fuzzy/whateveryouwannacallit sound of both IDTII and this.
     
    Dan O'Neill likes this.
  20. thrilliam

    Newbie

    yet another disappointment in 2016
     
  21. mattylikesfilms

    Trusted

    I listened to their first record yesterday and it's infinitely better. I feel bad for fans that waited 7 years for this.
     
    waterloobeam likes this.
  22. untilitkills83

    Newbie

    i was actually going to laugh at the fact that this is probably the first 'neutral' review i've seen on this site and i have to agree on the idea that this album is a bit of a muddled composition. some songs are great, others just seem like they needed a bit more mixing love. it's an interesting place to pick up in their discography, i didn't care much for say anything's last album which sounded like a bit of a mess and i have nothing recent to compare this album to in regards to saves the day. that said, excellent review, i don't mind this album but it sure as hell isn't winding up in my 'best of' list this year.
     
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  23. Dan O'Neill

    Regular

    If I had to compare this to recent Saves The Day, I would call it a step down. A big step down. The last two Saves albums were some of my favorites from them. :)
     
    untilitkills83 and SaveTheEarth like this.
  24. grimis16

    Regular

    I tried...seriously. But fuck this album is horrible. I love Saves the Day, while not a huge fan anymore I've been a fan since the late 90s. This though, my God.
     
    mattylikesfilms likes this.
  25. oldjersey

    Jersey scum Supporter

    The guy from Say Anything and the guy from Saves The Day can't make a good album these days? I am shocked
     
  26. grimis16

    Regular

    Exactly. How could he be okay with this?
     
    untilitkills83 and waterloobeam like this.