All Tvvins - Just to Exist - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

All Tvvins - Just to Exist

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2019-04-12
All Tvvins - Just to Exist
All Tvvins - Just to Exist

All Tvvins duo Conor Adams and Lar Kaye dropped their debut, IIVV, a few years back, and it was quite well received, making it to the second spot on the Irish charts and earning a Choice Music Prize nomination for Album of the Year. They put out a few more tracks after that with collaborator James Vincent McMorrow but then lost their momentum. Thankfully, the trio regrouped in late 2018 to begin working on their second album, Just to Exist. And it's quite lucky for us that they did, because they've put together an extremely well-made set. The overall feeling of the album is a sense of yearning, deep emotions, and a bit of fun.

The vocals are the type you hear in a lot of pop music: earnest and passionate, somewhat strained, but eminently listenable. The instrumentation is electropop, sorta, but not in an 80s retro way. It's all very modern and fresh sounding. Almost every song ranges from good to great, with a few absolute standouts. The opener, 'Hell of a Party', is an interesting contrast. It feels like a low-key party song, or maybe something you'd play in the chill out room of a frat house.

'Build a Bridge' is gorgeous. Long, drifting pads carry the tune along like a gentle tide and little swirls of melody peak through the waves. The chorus lyrics are simple yet cut right to my core: "I'll build a bridge right over to you, just for the view." It's so clear and sweet in its clever declaration of love. This is a song I will be listening to for a long time. It's easily in my top five tunes of the year. 'Warm Crush' has a sneaky synth line similar to the opener, and a bopping beat and echoing whistle effect that gives it a lot of charm. 'No One Is Any Fun' with guest vocals by Sorcha Richardson is a delicate, fuzzy song of devotion. The vocal harmonizing is lovely.

The album isn't perfect, though the only real stumble is 'My Future', which drags a bit and feels relatively listless. The odd vocal effects are a turn-off. Contrast that with 'I Heard You', which is similarly slow but notably more soulful, and lets the vocals stand on their own. 'Infinite Swim' is a sort of middle-of-the-road, safe song, but still fun enough. The title track is okay, but a little bland, straying too far into predictable pop.

Luckily, the album finishes strong, with the quirky and powerful 'In The Dark', bolstered by its odd marching percussion and squelching electro accents. The chorus rides the beat perfectly and is one long hook, making this the other song on this album that I don't think I'll ever tire of. And the closing track, though not quite at that level, is solid enough, with a nice ebb and flow to its energy.

The band says they went with a back-to-basics approach for the set, and it shows, as the music sounds very lean and trim for the most part. There isn't a lot of wasted energy or superfluous frills. It's clean alternative pop with a distinctive style, and Just to Exist should be making it onto plenty of best of lists by the end of the year.

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