Having spent most of the Noughties obsessed with Stereolab and Broadcast after hearing the late John Peel play them on late night Radio 1, I never really got over the sudden deaths of Broadcast’s Trish Keenan and Stereolab’s Mary Hansen. Soundalike bands may have ebbed and flowed, but not until Vanishing Twin arrived has any band excited me as much as the ‘lab and the ‘cast. Sad events often lead to questions about what might have been. In this case, what would each of the band’s respective outputs have been like in 2018? Awesome, no doubt. Different, certainly. Vanishing Twin, for me at least, are the perfect amalgamation of everything that was great about Stereolab and Broadcast.
The London outfit released their debut LP (‘Choose Your Own Adventure’) in 2016, having formed the year before as the band ‘Orlando’. From it, a single and opener on that LP ‘Vanishing Twin Syndrome’ has a ‘lost soundtrack’ feel to it. You know, something from an underground 60’s film that has been found in the archives. Cathy’s lovely vocal not only instantly recalls Mary Hansen’s 60’s pop loveliness, but also the otherworldliness of Keenan’s voice.
‘Vanishing Twin Syndrome’ sucks you in. ‘Oh yes, a beautiful melodic number this one..’ will quickly become ‘Oh my word: distorted stuff, twangy stuff and THOSE DRIVING DRUMS! Who IS this band?!’. 8 minutes and 10 seconds of psychedelic, jazzy, unholy racket. And, just when you think it’s all over after 4 minutes and 20 seconds — what’s this? Why has this tune segued into a crazy Italian library music track. Vibraphone, spacey SFX, some jazzy drumming that wouldn’t sound out of place on a 60’s Blue Note record, urgent violins, pops, groans…
And then there’s the band name. Vanishing Twin. Echoes of the disappearance of two fine singers from this world: Trish and Mary. Coincidence?
(Song recommendation by Lee D. Thompson)