Vanishing Twin @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 14 Jun

Vanishing Twin are experts in balancing elements and shifting textures, creating a sensual haven on one of the fringes of pop

Live Review by Ed Bottomley | 25 Jun 2019
  • Vanishing Twin

On what seems to be Manchester’s best night for live music since god knows when, tonight’s attendees at Soup Kitchen may be ahead of their friends in experiencing Aging, the new project helmed by Tombed Visions Records founder and stalwart of the local experimental music scene, David McLean. Drawing together an unlikely but fruitful combination of dark surf rock and ice-cool modal jazz, with the stark guitar and rhythm section underlying fluid and lyrical tenor sax and trumpet solos, the result is moody and cinematic, if maybe a little restrained. There’s clearly mileage for development, so here’s hoping Aging spread their wings a little wider in the fullness of time.

Seemingly buoyed by the getting their album The Age of Immunology out into the world, Vanishing Twin’s high spirits shine through their measured and composed performance. From the soporific opener You Are Not an Island, Cathy Lucas' delicate tone and clean intonation is reminiscent of both Brazilian bossa nova and French pop, giving some credence to the Stereolab comparisons the London band have received.

The confluence of extremely varied but befitting influences seems to be at the heart of Vanishing Twin’s approach. On Cryonic Suspension May Save Your Life, Blue Note-era jazz drum patterns and Stevie Wonder keyboards sit alongside more avant-garde instrumentation, including a random melody-generating circular spinning glockenspiel, like something borrowed from Harry Partch’s archive.

But from the breezy Magician’s Success to the spiraling psychedelia of Language is a City (Let Me Out!), the collage of some of the 20th century’s most niche sounds never loses coherence or seems too willfully weird. Even during the finale of densely layered cross-rhythms, tremolo guitars, flute, and warm spiraling arpeggiators, Vanishing Twin are experts in poise and the balancing of elements and shifting textures, creating a sensual haven on one of the most rewarding fringes of pop.