Photo: David Wright
Words: Linn Branson
Little Indie first got hold of the London duo in July 2014 when they were known as Pin Tweaks. At that time they - Aman Singh and Johnny Drain - were something of a 'mystery' outfit, giving out little bar the first fruits of their mutual endeavour in 'Girl On The Wire', which on uploading to Soundcloud went on to gather over 150,000 plays. [You may currently have difficulty locating that now...]
However, Little Indie let them pass our stringent ban on publicising anonymous artists as they gave us a few little exclusive details - plus, we liked the cut of their electro.
Most of the time they've been working together, the two had been in different cities and even countries: Johnny, a scientist, was living in Copenhagen, while architect Aman was in London. Both originally from Birmingham, they actually met in Bruges, whilst dating a pair of sisters. Twins themselves (though as we stated in our first feature, not sibling twins to each other!), they acknowledge a strong pull towards the geminal, a dynamic through which they have bonded.
Fast forward a year and boy, have there been some changes. Firstly, Tweaks are now Pin-less having opted to drop the double-barrel name; secondly, and more importantly, they return with a real stunner of a debut single that deals quite a departure to the duo's early work.
"Yeah, it's a bit different, but I think there's - hopefully! - something cohesive that links all of the EP tracks," agrees Johnny, when we catch up with him. "I guess on this first EP we were/are still exploring exactly what we're going to sound like too."
What they sound like is haunting, gripping and superbly crafted. 'Sisters', digitally out this week on Outset Recordings, and the first single to be taken from their upcoming debut EP of the same name, is probably one of the top ten tracks we have heard this year. Admittedly it took until almost the end of the first play before it hit home, but each subsequent hearing has enveloped us in new-found levels of pleasure.
They describe their sound as "enigmatic pop music for the nocturnal hours" and 'Sisters' certainly fulfills the description admirably.
Lyrically, it depicts a young woman’s life of material privilege. "The lyrics are quite intense; the chorus is a lament for someone who wants/needs familial ties/friendship/love but doesn't have them, despite having had many other things in life," says Johnny. "We were thinking a lot about how, still in 2015, many women are horrifically burdened by male-focused institutions (religion, family...well basically everything still) and have massively unreal/unfair expectations put upon them. Not sure we totally expressed that in the final lyrics - I guess it morphed a bit while we were writing it - but that was the central kernel of thought when we first wrote it."
The track builds over four minutes on sweeping drums and synths, hymn-like, to an other-worldly climax with nods along the way to the 90s trip hop of Portishead and DJ Shadow. Throw in some twinkling keys and some breathing (listen from 2:33 in), and you have a perfectly formed debut.
"We held some pretty stringent auditions for who got to do the breathing sounds!" laughs Johnny. "In the end it was me. They are supposed to be a sort of comforting/ethereal presence. It's quite interesting to watch people listening to the song to see if they start breathing in sync with them... they often do!"
Take a listen below and try.
More info: FACEBOOK