Twangs aren’t what they used to be

New album: Now The Twang are doing it for themselves
New album: Now The Twang are doing it for themselves
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WHAT a difference a few years can make in music.

One moment The Twang are heralded as the sonic equivalent of a cure for dementure. And the next...

These days the band from Birmingham are long beyond the hyperbole that arguably pumped them above realistic expectations and have gone all autonomous for the album that brings them back to Sheffield this autumn.

At the end of the day their debut album Love It When I Feel Like This shifted a modest 200,000 copies – in spite of the tribal success of singles Wide Awake and Either Way – and had some dismiss them as “baggy copyists”. The follow-up album produced oik favourite Barney Rubble.

With 10:20 – out on October 29 – the band have taken destiny into their hands.

“We recorded the album in our own studio in Birmingham with our good friend Jon Simcox,” says singer Phil Etheridge ahead of the band’s November 3 Leadmill date.

“As we built the studio ourselves, and were funding the record ourselves, we weren’t under any pressure to meet anyone else’s deadlines and had the freedom to work whenever and however we wanted without any record company hassle.

“We decided early on we wanted the record to be more organic than our previous two albums so we’ve tried to be disciplined and strip away the layers and leave something natural and beautiful.”

Lead track Mainline is available to stream now from – something of a contrast for The Twang with its dark, twisted verses and carnival-feel chorus.

As per usual, none of this came without drama. The album title stems from a note taped to the door of their Jewellery Quarter studio by an irate studio neighbour. Then the band ditched their original drummer after more than £10,000 worth of equipment went walkies from their studio.

Ash “grandmaster ash” Sheehan was his replacement. A well-known percussionist on the underground house scene, he has made his mark across the world from the midlands to Ibiza playing alongside the likes of Annie Mac, Swedish House Maffia, P Diddy, and Busta Rhymes. He initially played all trumpets on Mainline.

All in all, this adds up to a record that promises to be reflective and often introspective, dealing with the problems life throws at two people trying to live together. It features earlier singles Paradise And Guapa – the story of a rebel soldier falling madly in love with a girl days before he is likely to meet his death – and We’re A Crowd, a call to arms addressing what people can achieve when they combine in a positive way, and written at the height of the 2011 summer riots.