The fact that the release of The Twits comes less than six months after Tracey Denim, Bar Italia’s debut for Matador (and third album in all), suggests that this is a band in a hurry. And yet the latest batch of songs from London-based trio Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton doesn’t feel like any great progression. Their reference points remain mid-1990s alt-rock (Blonde Redhead; Pavement without the playfulness) and 1980s Cure – with a flash of the heavy-lidded introspection of early xx on the track Que Suprise. And once again the three band members trade vocal lines within songs, a nice touch that gives the lyrics the feeling of overheard conversations, although that might have been an even greater selling point with stronger, less mumbled vocals.
Their strongest moments come through on their more concentrated tracks: the opening song My Little Tony has a confident attitude, and Worlds Greatest Emoter features a lively and catchy bassline. However, when the pace slows down, songs like Calm Down With Me and Bibs become unenjoyable and burdensome, and too frequently The Twits seems to prioritize style over substance.