Twopointeight - From Wires (Cover Artwork)


From Wires (2014)

I Scream Records

I was very curious about the direction that Swedish punks Twopointeight would take for their third LP, especially upon hearing Brian Fallon would be producing and co-writing, with Pete Steinkopf engineering. Twopointeight, Gaslight Anthem and Bouncing Souls on one record- it was like a Punknews wet dream come true.

Fallon’s own musical resume shows his talent for producing both arena-ready anthems and nuanced, carefully-crafted moments of soft-light indie perfection. Twopointeight’s own style typically falls more along the lines of Gaslight Anthem, with big memorable choruses and bouncy hook-laden verses, delivered with a punk urgency of Rancid or One Many Army. This is why the band’s latest effort From Wires might seem like somewhat of a curve ball for long time listeners. For an album that is significantly more tightened and polished than their previous efforts, the boys took some impressive risks, musically.

The first track, “Dusting for Prints”, with its sampled drumbeat transitioning into a mid-tempo, shuffling guitar riff peppered with sporadic, background vocals. Anyone expecting a track like “Red Eye” right out the gate might find themselves reaching for the skip button- especially when they see the track’s 5 minute 43 second run time. Things come together as lead vocalist Fredrik Erikson’s voice finally cuts through. In the same vein as Joe Strummer or Billie Joe Armstrong, Erikson’s vocal delivery enjoys a mastered sense of timing and the restrained tempo of the song lets him sink his teeth each verse. The lead up to the dramatic final chorus pays off as Erikson sings “Those days all are roses, laid down at the foot of your king.” It takes some guts for a punk band to put a 6 minute song on the beginning of their album, but “Dusting for Prints” confidently sets the tone and prepares you for what’s to come.

The second song “St. Martha Street” should sound more familiar. With its fast tempo and springy guitar hooks, the track would not sound out of place on the bands’ 2006 debut record. Though not as immediately memorable as “Red Eye” or “Gud’s Hand”, its heartfelt chorus makes it a triumphant standout on the record.

Length of the first song aside, From Wires is the band’s shortest and most streamlined LP to date, with only ten songs (compared to Twopointeight and Twopointeight II both of which have 13 songs.) Twopointeight has never been shy from embracing outside genres, and the brevity of the record is refreshing in that the band rarely retreads their own steps. Though the band covers a lot of ground musically in a short time, the transitions never feel forced, allowing a dub reggae jam “Got Love” coexist quite closely with an aggressive punk song like “Straight to Video.”

Fallon’s direct influence can be heard more in the way From Wires is crafted. As the band states, “The biggest difference on this record is that we focused on the songs themselves, rather than cramming parts and riffs together to find eerie soundscapes” Each track feels like a chapter of a book - an objective reflection of the transition into your early 30’s, and everything that comes with it. Choosing the things you embrace, the things you let go, and just as importantly, coming to terms with the fact that that choice is not always yours. The hopeful guitar leads in “The World Keeps Turning” convey an uplifting, if only temporary sense of atonement, while “The Grid” (Fallon, I hear you all over this song) confidently closes the record with one good eye set on the future. Your 20’s have passed and you’re left with the recognition that you will always have your battles, but you're still young and you’ve made it this far.