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2019-05-27

TWIN TEMPLE - Twin Temple

Let's start at the beginning:

Lilith was the first woman. She was not made from Adam's spare rib like Eve, but... No, not THAT beginning!

Oh, the other one. Ok.

In 1969 a debut album was released, which dealt with occult themes and is said to have introduced the inverted cross, the sign of the horns and the neat phrase "Hail Satan!" into the canon of rock music. As famously as coincidently Coven's "Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls" started with a song called "Black Sabbath". And the band also had a bass player named Michael "Ozzy" Osborne.

Fifty years later, after decades of hiatus, in which generations of band were inspired by them, and led by original singer Jinx DawsonCoven are still around (see my Roadburn 2017 review), sparking interest in new listeners, who now encounter the shrouded in myth "Witchcraft" for the first time.

Many of those listeners might be surprised, that the sound doesn't fully match their expectation based on the satanic image. While there are rock structures and a couple guitar parts which hint to the future of what would later be known as metal, most of the music is basically lyrically dark, but catchy folk.

Which shouldn`t be a huge surprise given the time.


Now what if not Coven, but another band had introduced all that satanic stuff into popular music? Let's say ten to fifteen years earlier during the late 1950s.

Enter Twin Temple!




TWIN TEMPLE - Twin Temple (violet sparkle vinyl LP) (2019)


Twin Temple present themselves as the duo of the high priests Alexandra (vocals) and Zachary James (guitar), yet they are a backed up by a full band including organ and saxophone (or occasionally trumpet). Their satanic message is tongue-in-cheek in its deliverance, yet adamant in its focus on the right of self-determination and feminism.

Yet above all - not only proven on this record, but also on stage, like I had the pleasure to witness at Roadburn last month -, the concept comes with a shitload of danceable party tunes and sheer fun.

The reason for that lies in the perfect execution of the very specific 1950's rock'n'roll variety, Twin Temple have chosen as the carrier of their gospel: doo-wop.
Doesn't ring a bell? Just imagine "doo-wop" repeatedly being sung by background vocalists and you know what style this is.

Besides the heavy usage of nonsense syllables (which Twin Temple don't rely that much on though) this kind of rock still is very much rooted not only in blues, but also in swinging jazz.

Twin Temple live at Roadburn 2019
And of course it's one of the least satanic things on this Earth you could imagine. This band however makes it a perfect fit. This music sounds completely genuine, while in truth being so joyfully absurd.

Especially in the opener "The Devil Didn't Make Me Do It" Alexandra makes it obvious that not only with her bouffant hair-dos she has a ball emulating the late Amy Winehouse. While she dials that influence back over the rest of the album, Twin Temple still very well might be one of the closest thing you can find to Amy today, which also includes a bit of her rebellious attitude.

"Twin Temple (Bring You Their Signature Sound.... Satanic Doo-Wop)", as the full album title goes, is stuffed with hits. "Lucifer, My Love", "Sex Magick", the ayayayay Mexican "Santa Muerte"... try to get those out of your head! Once they are in there it's nearly impossible.


Two tracks make the Coven homage very obvious: "I'm Wicked", which also includes the chorus verse "I'm a woman" is of course a blatant reference to "Wicked Woman".
Even more so is the untitled bonus track, which in shortened form is also part of their live performance: a satanic iniation ritual, which of course mirrors the "Satanic Mass", which takes most of the B side on"Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls".


Along with the brilliant concept and music Twin Temple also satisfy on the visual side. The cover and backcover design (including a long cited press text) is very in line with the style of old jazz records.

The violet sparkle vinyl is probably the best hideout for fluff I've ever seen. Looks great though. But on the downside it also carries a lot of surface noises.

That alongside the absence of a download code really is the only bad thing I can say about this album.




Twin Temple are clever and hilarious, but also just plain good.

Did I already mention that this stuff is fun?

Hail Lilith!
Hail Lucifer!
Hail Satan!















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