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Twin Brother’s Sean Raasch Takes a Solo Detour by Evan Rytlewski (Shepherd Express)

 

It’s been about a half year since Milwaukee’s Twin Brother played their last show—not an especially long time for most acts, but a veritable eternity for a group that has spent the last three years gigging relentlessly. There’s good reason for that delay. The group has been under construction lately, with new members entering the fold in the wake of founding drummer Tyler Nelson’s departure. The retooled group, with bassist Lodewijk Broekhuizen taking on newfound lead guitar duties, will make its debut later this year, but in the meantime singer/songwriter Sean Raasch has shared an update on what he’s been up to in the form of a self-recorded online album simply titled (solo).

The album compiles songs Raasch had been sketching out mostly since the release of the folk-rock band’s 2014 album Swallow The Anchor, and runs even further with that record’s plaintive, late-night feel. Where that album featured warm, soulful accompaniments, this one is pointedly minimalist, leaving the listener to fill in the empty space in their head. “Person” captures the jittery intimacy of Connor Oberst’s most confessional work, while “Howl” casts the same stark, synthesized shadows as Strands of Oaks’ early records. A sense of unease hangs over the whole thing.

“I’m always messing around, spending hours in the studio recording weird shit,” Raasch says. “Over the last couple of years I’d built up a collection of maybe 13 or 14 songs, and I figured, ‘Well, they’re either going to go in the garbage or I can share them.’”

But why dump nine perfectly good songs on a barely promoted Bandcamp release, instead of saving them for a proper Twin Brother album?

“It’s just because I write so many songs,” Raasch explains. “I already have 10 songs the whole band is working on. So I was just being honest with myself about the fact that I was never going to get back to these songs, since I’m always writing new ones that I’m more excited about. So I figured I might as well release them in some form, since if just one person gets some joy out of them that’s better than throwing them away.”

As for those new songs, “I think they’re going to be less sad,” Raasch says. “They’re still dark, but I think they’re going to be a little more exciting. Not everything’s going to be a sad, slow-burning folk song.”

 

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