Mars Bars is my favourite song by The Undertones, bar none. Yeah, yeah, Teenage Kicks, I know, but Jimmy Jimmy, the A-side to Mars Bars, is better, as is the magnificent My Perfect Cousin (and I have a cousin called Kevin but I was tops at Subbuteo). True Confessions is better and the list goes on. John Peel was wrong.
Michael Bradley is not wrong. Tweeting as @MickeyUndertone he nails it when he says TwinsTown get an A* for music.
Hey, and the B for art isn’t bad either. Having just scraped a C I’d have loved a B in art. I’m lovin’ Micky Undertone’s grading almost as much as I love his lyrics. Here’s some more, this time from My Perfect Cousin.
You can tell I’m a fan… so what!? It’s The Undertones. Young people sit down, this is not about you. The Undertones: the best band from Northern Ireland ever. That’s not even an opinion, it’s their official status over there. Indulge me here.
What’s that? I’m supposed to be writing about TwinsTown, aye!? Oops, sorry ’bout that, but TwinsTown aren’t really cutting edge. Michael Bradley @MickeyUndertone says so on his BBC MB Record Show. You can listen to him say it.
It’s great having someone like Mickey offering TwinsTown such positive feedback.
Mickey – I hope I can call him Mickey – likes Mark’s piano and Whanga Records too.
Well, I say Mickey likes Whanga Records, I doubt he’s met them in person. Check this oot.
Then again as a punk icon I guess Mickey might like big Barrett’s 1/4 Chubz and Craig’s Birrell or Biscuit. I hear he has played UFO Space Disco and Top of the Pops. Find out more at Whanga Records.
Finally, a big thank you to Michael for all his work with The Undertones – my childhood benefitted enormously – and on his excellent The Mickey Bradley Record Show on BBC Radio Ulster. I’ll be tuning in again TwinsTown or no. Most of all, of course, thank you to Mickey for playing Dive In and for getting those pesky twins telt. “Plenty more fish in the sea” is a romantic turn of phrase. The song is not about fish. You’d think the writers would know what they’re writing about but it takes a music legend to keep them right.
Oh, I almost forgot, please vote for Dive In by using the link below and feel free to share this post widely encouraging others to join in the vote for TwinsTown.
I just knew you guys had something special from the moment I met you.
Billy George, manager and vocals
My wee song previews for TwinsTown’s stunning debut album end here, with the title track, Brankholm Brae. It’s going to be emotional.
I’m buzzing with this album… love you all like brothers, the whole team. I mean it from the bottom of my big heart [Big Heart is track 6 on Side One].
Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
Being part of TwinsTown is great. We are like brothers. The brethren. Making Brankholm Brae has been one of the best experiences ever, and I think that goes for everyone involved. Even Harry has his mojo back.
Aye, actually enjoyed playing guitar for the first time in about 7 years.
Harry Dixon, bass and lead guitar
We’ve reached the end of an era.
No more trips to Tpot Studios, Path of Condie.
No more extraordinary feats of producing (and patience) from top sound man Robin Wynn Evans.
No more extraordinary feats of everything (including huge patience) from top band manager Billy George.
No more recording sessions watching Harry Dixon, Wayne Robertson, Mark Guyan, Donald Mackay and Stuart Mackay putting heart and soul into their work.
No more mixing, trying to decide if Harry shouting “FLARE IT!” can be heard during Something New.
No more drinking ’til the early sunrise, Monday morning long lies, nor holidays and alibis.
As for the mix. Fucking love it. It’s perfect for me, every track. I’m happy with the drums and the vocals. Wrath has a cool western reverb too.
Wayne Robertson, drums
Of course, you know what brothers are like. It’s not all love and bromance. There’s always the odd fall-out, tumble off a bar stool, black eye, and even the odd dressing down in a dressing gown. The quiet ones are always the worst. You know who they are, and THEY know who they are…
Honestly feeling a lot more confident about everything after [rehearsing] last night. Not going to lie, I was doubting my capabilities quite a bit, but now I can’t wait to get gigging.
Mark Guyan, keyboards and piano
Putting bumps into othewise flat roads is the worst “calming measure” ever. Speed bumps infuriate me. TwinsTown have the best calming measure ever. The Backbone is back! The King of All-In as I call him. B# to some, it’s Ben Sharp. The former TwinsTown man has returned for Brankholm Brae providing all with a sharp dose of reality, bass galore and angelic vocals.
Yep, tunes sound banging… we’ve all put in good work.
Ben Sharp, bass guitar and vocals
Although when it comes to the good, the bad and the ugly of TwinsTown, the B-Sharp man doesn’t stand alone in the good category. Who can forget Donald and Stuart saving Jim on the bridge in the Wölves’ video for Animal.
You are my fucking hero… a life saver! [Donald to Billy].
Donald Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
Last night a DJ saved my life… yes, I can remember when Billy was a DJ. He played one of my office parties at Murrayfield and had a longstanding residency in the classic Somewhere Else famously run by the late Jim Kirkpatrick and Bob Dick. I wonder what those two toun legends would say about TwinsTown now. It probably doesn’t bear thinking about.
The more I listen, the more I like it.
Joe Graham, PR and photography
Brankholm Brae does grow on you. Arguably the title track more than any other. I just can’t get Brankholm Brae out of my head, it’s indie pop gold from the very first verse…
Track 12 Brankholm Brae is unashamedly sweet and sentimental. Donald and Stuart issue an open invitation to visit and stay at Brankholm Brae, their home. It brings a tear to my eye thinking of the lonely twosome heartbroken, their kind invitation dashed on the rocks by Covid-19’s social distancing.
Kindness is the best and there’s tons of it whenever you visit Double Trouble at the Brae. I can testify to it personally and I won’t mention the neighbours.
With the album sorted thoughts are turning to music videos now.
Do you have any ideas for a video that aren’t like a David Lynch meets Quentin Tarantino on acid collaboration?
Billy George, manager and vocals
Personally, I like vampires and cowboys.
Everybody loves a cowboy! We need to do a western for Wrath of the Rum. We can use Erin’s horses.
Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
Wild, wild horses, I hope.
As well as videos, thoughts are turning to gigs, streaming or at least live recordings.
I think Ben needs to play the bass for the first two it would be like The Beatles without John Lennon playing those songs without your guitar parts Duke, especially Spitfire [Donald to Harry].
Donald Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
As I mentioned previously, I’ve been tuning into Stevie Agnew’s Sunday Sesh on Facebook Live. Food for thought. I can tell TwinsTown are hungry, itching to get going, on something or another.
Absolutely love you and your playing… [Harry to Ben].
Harry Dixon, bass and lead guitar
Videos, gigs, and of course thoughts are also turning to singles. That really will be a difficult choice. Billy was considering Johnny Depp for the first single but…
I might change my mind in the morning though. Such is the fluctuational appeal of this wonderful collection of songs.
Billy George, manager and vocals
I’m the same as Billy, there’s just so many good tunes that there really is no obvious first single. At the moment I favour Dive In which is track 7 on Side Two.
Anyway, we’re almost at the end… of the previews, only the previews.
I think the songs speak for themselves, Joe… I like folk guessing what they are about.
Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
Aw aye, thanks for that, Stuart. Now you tell me, AFTER I’ve written the 12 wee previews. Grrr!
Only joking, I think everyone has their own idea of what a song is about. It actually doesn’t matter what the writer or writers intended. One of the beautiful things about music is that one song can mean different things to different people.
Music for me, and I like music.
You’ll never guess… it’s only Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from Dunfermline indie rockers TwinsTown.
Sometimes your brain just runs wild, thoughts flashing through your mind, you know, a frenzy.
Turning Japanese – The Vapours
Every Day I Die – Gary Numan
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
Be My Girl (Sally) – The Police
St. Swithin’s Day – Billy Bragg
Pictures of Lily – The Who
Pump It Up – Elvis Costello
My Ding-A-Ling – Chuck Berry
Fingers – Pink
Bed Bugs – TownTown
Sometimes you just have to make a list. A top ten even. It’s in no particular order mind. TwinsTown are No.1 not No.10, but it’s just random anyway. Certainly nothing anyone might want to hide from their mum and dad.
Bed Bugs is a song about mental health: the importance of it and occasionally, or sometimes more than occasionally, the things we do to keep ourselves sane. Check out the chorus…
I love the bridge too. We can all relate…
Arguably, Bed Bugs provides the most engaging intro of all the songs on Brankholm Brae. It’s both quirky and cute. The song continues in the same vein as the lead guitar takes us into a bouncy tune with the trademark TwinsTown call and response vocals used to full effect.
Look out too for the equally subtle and gorgeous backing vocals from Billy George, Ben Sharp and Ellie George. After her introductory appearance on Big Heart, I think I’m right in saying Bed Bugs is Ellie’s second outing on Brankholm Brae.
I hope her fellow backing singers, only her dad and boyfriend, won’t mind if I say Ellie gives good “Oooo’s”. I can’t even spell Oooo’s. The last time Stuart passed me the mic Mark jumped out of his piano stool like a scalded cat and chased me away. That’ll be the end of my singing career.
Back on topic, Bed Bugs is over far too soon. T’here’s an impatient urgency, a rush and a push towards the climax. I didn’t say pull.
Despite it’s brevity, I predict it’s going to be a classic. Bed Bugs is the TwinsTown song for TwinsTown fans… like me!
Fred Flintstone and Clint Eastwood are hard acts to follow, but Bed Bugs goes in hard, standing up to the pop reference challenge with the rat pack and Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and the twins’ grandad. 50p each way on Dean Martin.
Four exclamation marks to end this one. Oaft! There’s some pent-up emotion going on and no mistake.
Just one song preview to go now, the title track, Brankholm Brae. There’s going to be no pent-up emotion for the final track. It’s all released. There won’t be a dry eye in the house. Tissues at the ready, please.
We can’t keep it undercovers forever, it’s the album most likely to, it’s Brankholm Brae.
If only we could say goodbye to the summer. I’m writing this in the dead of winter, Sunday 14th February to be precise, and there’s snow everywhere. You might be hitting springtime as you read this, but these wee previews are delayed sometimes. Where I am now it’s cold and bleak, there’s snow turning to slush, and worst of all, it’s Valentine’s Day. Yeowk!
Still, there’s Man Utd on TV and I’m listening to Stevie Agnew playing live; headphones on, laptop tuned to Facebook, and Stevie’s Sunday Sesh in full flow. I think Stevie’s been working on his audience banter and the music is brilliant. Liam Saunders is on the keyboard, although I can only see his hands, and Hamish and Kyle are off-camera in the background somewhere. I’ll be tuning in again next week. First class entertainment.
That’s Stevie finished. No offence, Stevie, time for TwinsTown.
Click on media player, play… Say Goodbye to the Summer is on my headphones now. It begins with Wayne and Mark, a strong double beat on drums and keys respectively, before fuzzy guitar work, melody and verse one.
The superb 40 second intro, quite long for TwinsTown, is followed by a well structured, tuneful and fairly conventional indie pop song.
As The KLF say, “to the bridge, to the bridge, to the bridge now”.
In 1988 The KLF wrote a book called The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way), however TwinsTown are taking no shortcuts. Say Goodbye to the Summer demonstrates how TwinsTown have worked long and hard to develop their talents. I suppose the trick is to make it look simple.
The deceptive complexity of Say Goodbye to the Summer is also revealed in the chorus as it points to a deeper meaning.
The last line of the chorus, “Say goodbye to everyone,” makes me wonder; is this a simple goodbye to the summer, or is this someone on their last knockings, the summer being a metaphor for life.
I suppose I’ll never know. It’s not as if I can just phone these superstars up and ask. They’re busy out sledging and building snowmen today.
Brankholm Brae the stunning debut album from TwinsTown to be released this year, 2021. The exact date will be decided shortly.
Jackie Milburn was Newcastle United’s first iconic number 9. TwinsTown’s first iconic number 9 is, appropriately, Wrath of the Rum. For the Young ‘uns who don’t know of Wor Jackie, think Alan Shearer. For Pars fans we have Charlie Dickson and John Watson.
Yes, Wrath of the Rum is THE iconic centre-forward of TwinsTown songs. Track 9 on Brankholm Brae is scattering defenders and scoring sonic goals for fun.
Some might say too much fun. Not me. I love it.
It starts with arguably the greatest ever TwinsTown pop reference, it’s my favourite film starring Lee Van Cleef (Clint Eastwood was in it too), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Yabba dabba doo! Yes, it’s even better than the opening on Last Romance featuring The Flintstones.
When the chorus kicks in you kinda know it’s the wild wild west of Fife, not Tombstone, Arizona, but who’d have guessed Wellwood!?
Someone told me that, alongside pop accessibility and ironic posturing, indie rock is supposed to be authentic. Well, we have Johnny Depp for the ironic posturing and Dive In for pop accessibility. Wrath of the Rum is authentic.
Of course, for legal reasons, we have to point out that this is purely a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are the products of the authors’ imaginations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Oaft, glad I remembered to say that. What’s that you’re saying about law suits from Sergio Leone and Fred Flintstone?
As you can see above, we’re only at the midpoint of Side Two on Brankholm Brae. We may have peaked too soon.
What more drama can TwinsTown’s stunning debut album offer up?
Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from TwinsTown, offering drama all the way to the final whistle. No leaving early to beat the rush. Traipse out slowly to the Bluebell Polka with the rest of us.
Actually, a Trainspotting ending to this wee preview is probably better.
“Right, that boy got rattled, and no cunt leaves ’til I find oot whit cunt did it…”
Is Lo Siento a love song? I don’t know. I don’t speak Spanish.
What I do know is that Lo Siento captures what it’s like to be a twentysomething on a Mediterranean holiday. And yes, I can remember what it’s like, thank you very much!
Actually, as I write this I have Top of the Pops on in the background, an episode from 1990, and Betty Boo is singing Where are you Baby? It fair takes me back…
I see Elton John was at no.11 that week with Sacrifice… and that’s me… back in TwinsTown. Please step away from the piano, Donald.
Lo Siento is an unassuming wee number hiding a dark heart about the perils of boys abroad and holiday encounters from the romantic to the, well, not so romantic.
I hate those ‘Brits Abroad’ type shows but this is more Britpop abroad, a very British coming-of-age tale; shedding school days angst for sexy señoritas and braggadocios.
Musically, it’s less Walk on the Wild Side with Lou Reed and more Wild World with Cat Stevens. There’s a wee hint of Spanish guitar and a flamenco feel as the song flirts with the mellow sounds of the seventies.
At a first listen, I thought, this has ‘album track’ written all over it, and that may be, however after several listens it becomes as interesting musically as it is lyrically. There’s much more going on here than you first imagine.
In conclusion, I’m not sure how the twins even got to Spain… Stuart only scoring a 7 in Geography, FFS!
Brankholm Brae, el impresionante álbum debut de TwinsTown, saldrá este año.
Dive In delivers a spritely start to Side Two of Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from TwinsTown.
The song was created when Donald Mackay, Ben Sharp, and Ben’s two friends, were jamming. Ben had the chords but had to leave. Donald offered to write a song with Ben’s chords, and Dive In was almost done and dusted when Ben returned.
It’s funny how the best songs can take the shortest time. I was talking on here recently about Phil Oakey of the Human League and Giorgio Moroder writing Together in Electric Dreams in just 10 minutes. Later, Oakey complained, albeit tongue in cheek, that Human League songs taking weeks or months enjoyed less chart success.
I first heard Dive In via Facebook Live. It was an impromptu performance in Harry’s back garden, and I loved the hook, “…plenty more fish in the sea,” which was added by Stuart Mackay to fully complete Donald’s earlier work with Ben’s chords. Great effort, Team TwinsTown!
Side One ends with the optimism of Big Heart and Dive In opens Side Two with a similar look at the upside of love and romance.
Musically, the song is tight. It pushes along at pace, a steady, unrelenting pace all the way to the bridge, before climaxing with guitar, keys and drums finally breaking out. It’s both conventional and satisfying. It’s TwinsTown plays pop.
Team TwinsTown Talk
Last night band manager Billy George aka Big Daddy gave the band a boost via WhatsApp.
He said: “You know what lads. I genuinely think this album [Brankholm Brae] is the best I’ve heard in many a year. I’m not saying this lightly. I’d like to congratulate each and every one of you. I’ve listened to it 3 times in a row with headphones on and it’s just an unrelenting work of joy. ❤️❤️”
“It’s got a bit of everything. Sacks full of melody, great lyrics, beautiful harmonies, awesome beats, booming bass, jazzy keyboards and walls and walls of guitar genius.”
Needless to say Big Daddy’s love was returned in spades by all.
Happy days for TwinsTown.
You know it, it’s Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from TwinsTown.
Side One ends with Big Heart featuring my favourite bass line on Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from Dunfermline indie rockers TwinsTown. I had the pleasure of being there, at Tpot Studios, as Harry Dixon was laying down the bass. The versatile guitar man looked stressed, although his playing was unaffected and the end result is excellent.
Top producer Robin Wynn Evans, owner of Tpot Studios, recently completed the final mixes of all 12 tracks and Harry’s work on Big Heart shines.
Harry, best known as a lead guitarist, who likes to “FLARE IT!” giving his pedals laldy, seems concerned and self-conscious on bass, but he doesn’t disappoint.
Harry aside, the other TwinsTown boys aren’t too shabby either and I love the Big Heart lyrics.
Yes, TwinsTown have a sensitive side. Big Heart tells us they’re all lovely, sensitive wee souls, fragile in the face of heartbreak and lost love. It comes like an antidote to the proceeding song Johnny Depp and ultimately looks on the brightside.
For the sake of brevity (Big Heart is one of Donald and Stuart’s longest reads) I can’t reproduce all the lyrics here. However, trust me, the lads are pouring their hearts out and on tender hooks everyday.
The Big Heart exclamation marks are the songwriters’ own work and they make me think happy endings are a surprise in the works of TwinsTown. Anyway, surprise, surprise, here comes the sun, it’s the optimistic song ending…
Okay, just getting by isn’t the happiest of happy endings but in the context of completing Side One it’s positively glowing.
Welcome to my World is full of betrayal and trauma. Spitfire is war; a rockin’ anti-Nazi classic. Johnny Depp reminds us there’s a world of abuse and calculating narcissists out there.
Then comes Big Heart sending love and kisses to all, and hope, don’t forget hope. Let’s hope Side Two can live up to the rollercoaster ride that is Side One.
Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from TwinsTown, is out of the studio, Tpot Studios, Path of Condie, to be exact, and publishing plans are ongoing.
In case you’re wondering why I have wee road signs for the songs, Brankholm Brae is a road in Rosyth and we expect the cover art for the back of the album to be a photograph of the whole band pictured with the actual Brankholm Brae road sign. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 I can’t get everyone together for a photoshoot. My camera is snapping lonely snowdrifts and the like.
As I suspected when posting yesterday, the final master mixes for TwinsTown’s Brankholm Brae arrived last night.
Appropriate really, as the next song to be previewed here is track 4. Something New and it’s the song introducing the band’s current line up, featuring Mark Guyan, Wayne Robertson and Harry Dixon.
Along with Wayne on drums and Harry on guitar, piano man Mark Guyan has added a touch of class to proceedings, a whole new dimension.
I had a wee listen to the new mixes on arrival but I’ll be blasting them later today.
On Something New one wee update incorporated by producer Robin at Tpot is making Harry’s “Flare it!” shouts a bit more prominent.
The green light on Brankholm Brae is drawing ever closer.
Something New also finds Donald and Stuart dreaming of good times to come. Given our current Covid-19 crisis I think we all need the power of dreams right now. Something New either already is, or will be, a reality for many of us during 2021, and hopefully it’ll be something good.