Ghosts and Interferences
Evil Twin is the stage name of Pittsburgh-based artist Gina Favano, whose previous musical projects include the band Grackles. Her new full-length album, Ghosts and Interferences, consists of six bare-bones tracks recorded in Philadelphia and five slightly more elaborate recordings done with John Purse at the Rickety House in Pittsburgh.
Favano's no-holds-barred vocal style and droning, folk-blues guitar and banjo immediately bring to mind Larkin Grimm, although Favano favors a lower-fi recording style and more casual performance. The songs from the Philly session are stark, seemingly documentary in nature, of which "Roses" seems most fully realized, with a dreamy, strummed chord progression that suits her voice.
The Rickety songs are a bit clearer, not as harsh, and include the occasional accordion (the ballad "Dream of You") and banjo (the protest song "In Kampf," translated from Yiddish lyrics by Robert Edelstadt). Even here, though, Favano includes strange warbling screams and strums the guitars and banjos to where they detune and buzz like a sitar. "Love Is," the final song, seems a kind of extended yowl.
It's interesting to think about the record in terms of what choices were made. For example, care clearly went into the packaging -- an evocative letter-pressed, multi-colored print, done in both CD and cassette editions. From that, I assume that the musical performance and production choices were also made with creative goals in mind, although some choices are puzzling. For example, the album leads with the five least-polished tracks, and the opening song, "You Hear Me," seems almost designed to weed out listeners. (It initially kept me from listening further.)
While not an easy listen, the album does suggest an interesting live show, so I'll be keeping an eye out for Evil Twin's upcoming performances.