The Twang Gang by Mortal Prophets is a complex and intricate collection of tracks exploring avant-garde alt-rock sounds with an ambiance that feels both awe-inspiring and uneasy.
The first track Waltz Across New Jersey introduces us to this sound with a sinister dissonance between the instrumentation. The shrill timbre mixed with the gentle guitar playing creates a strange juxtaposition of familiarity and chaos. I think the track uses train sounds in certain sections. That rhythmic and robotic clanging helps to establish a liminal essence to the track that works with the unease the song builds. It also matches the theme of travel that is established in the title.
Mesmerized Stargazer is a track that changes the sound of the album significantly. The song adds a psychedelic haze with hypnotic and reverberated guitar riffs mixed with layers of drums building a rhythm and counter rhythm that bounce off each other beautifully. The heavy effects on the guitar don’t distract and, if anything, add to the psychedelic energy of the song, producing musical tracers that follow around every note.
I like the titular track, The Twang Gang, for its raw and distorted guitar riffs, there is a mechanical grinding within the distortion that makes the emotive guitar riff that much more sonically rich.
Can You Feel It, a later track, does a great job re-establishing the album’s core tone of awe-inspiring and uneasy with the use of a heavily distorted and robotic vocal performance mixed with classic rock guitar riffs and this uncomfortably high synth. The whole track feels like an alien encounter that you can’t quite work out the intentions of. I think the title and repeated phrase “Can you feel it” help suggest this tone because there are so many questions within the statement and it is so vague in intention.
Alamo Aloha builds further on this tone, moving more into the industrial ambient space, yet still managing to add in an enigmatic awe with the huge contrast in its sonic landscape and timbre.
The Twang Gang by Mortal Prophet’s is an interesting mix of the familiar and the alien, featuring an intricate variety of psychedelic soundscapes that you should check out.