Upon the release of their second album, Range Anxiety, Melbourne jangle pop gems Twerps have found themselves in an odd situation – the material on their forthcoming album is more dated than their last release, 2014’s EP Underlay. After sitting on it for a year and a half, Range Anxiety will finally see the light of day.
“The second album is more of a collage, and I feel that’s how people will respond to it,” says guitarist Julia MacFarlane, busy designing the latest Twerps t-shirt. “I know some people will have a hard time because of that. It’s not just one person’s voice.”
Since forming in 2008, the band’s sweetly shambolic indie-pop has resonated with fans around the country and around the world, as well as catching the ear of Merge Records, who signed the band last year. 2015 is shaping up to be a bigger year for the 4-piece, with supports for Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and Belle & Sebastian, appearances at this weekend’s Sugar Mountain, SXSW 2015, and a headlining US tour.
The next time you catch a Twerps show, be prepared to glimpse a few new faces on stage. A major lineup shift has left MacFarlane and singer Marty Frawley remaining the original Twerps. Recent additions include Gus Lord – handpicked by former bass player Rick Milovanovic – and Alex MacFarlane, both from Melbourne’s The Stevens.
Already being part of the Twerps family tree — Lord and Milovanovic play together in Boomgates — has its perks. “There’s a mutual friendship and respect,” says MacFarlane. “That definitely helps. I’m sure there are so many good bands that aren’t based on friendships, but I feel like that’s the only way that this particular band would work.”
Listen: Twerps – I Don’t Mind
Band dynamics are a delicate balance, as MacFarlane details the difficulties of musical collaboration. “To me it’s just terrifying – how does everyone stay happy and at the same time how do you be honest with what you want to do? Keeping that balance feels like the hardest thing in the world. Not that it seems hard for us but I just feel like it’s a big priority. When you respect everyone else in your band and you respect yourself, and you kind of have slightly different ideas, it can kinda feel just very fragile.”
With Range Anxiety out of their hands, the band is keen to start recording some new material, while dabbling in other music projects. “We’re doing a side project band as Twerps – same members but reconfigured,” says MacFarlane. “It’s called Big Turn – we’ve already played our first show and it was really fun. It’s an outlet for us to perform things that aren’t resolved, and I think it’s a good thing to do.”
Side projects aside, MacFarlane says there is still unexplored territory left for the band. “I think there’s still a world of opportunities within the parameters of Twerps,” she says. “It still feels like an exciting mode of operation.”
‘Range Anxiety’ is out tomorrow, Friday, 23rd January.
Watch: Twerps – Back To You