Flavour Country is Twinset’s sixth CD, and finds the group laying out its usual persuasive grooves, while expanding into unexplored territories. At one extreme there is ‘Space Legion’, where eastern modes meet Martian soundscapes in an expansive yet beautifully controlled 16-minute jam.
But equally unique in the Twinset catalogue is the minimalist ‘Central Plateau’, which evokes windswept wastelands with its rolling rhythm, sparse piano figures and cinematic sound effects. More familiar, yet no less compelling, are the Latin funk of ‘Happy Snare’, the after-hours blues of ‘Happy Conga’ and suave soul groove of the title track.
As individual musicians, the members of Twinset have been known to moonlight with other capital city combos, from Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Eggs, The Sribes Of Ra, The Black Seeds and Deva Mahal and the Five Pleasures to folk-parodists Flight Of The Conchords.
And, as on previous albums, a few friends and colleagues have sat in on Flavour Country. There’s The Phoenix Foundation’s Will Ricketts, whose percussion can be heard throughout the album, meshing with Hoskins’ drums to make this the rhythmically richest Twinset album yet. Toby Laing, from Fat Freddy’s Drop, brings his baritone horn, adding ballast to ‘Birds Of Beltion’ and ‘Storms Boogaloo’.
And there’s The Black Seeds’ Barnaby Weir, who blends his white chocolate vocals with the creamy tones of Lisa Tomlins on the album’s one non-instrumental: a reading of the Billy Joel standard ‘Just the Way You Are’. Like everything else on Flavour Country, it is soulful, surprising, and couldn’t be anyone but Twinset, who have taken a near-forgotten sub-genre, given it a fresh breath of Wellington air, and made it their own.