Hey, do you miss Daft Punk, but also wish they were less serious and more funk-infused? Well, take a look at TWRP (pronounced like ‘twerp’, but stands for Tupper Ware Remix Party) because they are that and more. Toronto’s premiere electro-funk, synthy, 80s worship band is here with a new album called Together Through Time. It’s a hell of a good time, but is it too much? We’ll get to that, but as the final line of their song “The Perfect Product” says: ‘just have fun with it‘!
I think one look at a band photo kind of prepares you for what you’re getting into. TWRP looks like Gloryhammer if they set aside their differences and started a neo-disco rock band from space. Colorful outfits, headgear, and music that sounds like it’s from the future and the past – the 80s to be exact. Back when everything was a euphemism for sex, the lyrics were super cheesy, basses and synths practically roamed the plains they were so abundant, and style was everything – this is the comfort zone for TWRP, and it just so happens I feel at home with this as well.
Bass reigns supreme here, much like it does in the disco and funk of yore. One listen to “Our 4fathers” gives you enough thick bass groove to last a while, but, lucky you, it’s plentiful on nearly every other track! Second to bass, synths dominate the mix. The catchy, stuttering melody of “Starlight Brigade” in particular stands out. Almost every song features vocoder vocals from TWRP themselves. It adds to the album’s retrofuturistic aesthetic, though I admit that several songs of it can grate a bit. “Life Party” has the strongest presence of this approach. It’s a bright and sunny single through and through, with robotic vocals situated front and center while plucky, bouncy piano and guitar fill the background.
“Tactile Sensation” is a weapons-grade karaoke-ready love song with a lot of rhythm and soul. This album highlight has singing by Dylan Charles Germick of Planet Booty (what a name), belting consent-friendly lyrics like ‘Alright, tonight is the night/I’m waiting for your invitation/One look and you got me shook/Your smile is my motivation‘. It’s very sexy, but tasteful. Nothing against TWRP proper, but this album really comes to life with its features. “Phantom Racer” plays out like a Speed Racer fan-fiction, detailing the high-octane exploits of a daredevil driver with the help of narration and in-character singing from The Protomen. Singer-songwriter Lydia Persaud launches love anthem “Take Care of U” into the stratosphere of future disco with her amazingly strong voice. Dan Avidan of Ninja Sex Party and Game Grumps fame is paired extraordinarily well with the upbeat, spacey epic “Starlight Brigade”. If you want a list of my favorite tracks from this album, just pick any one with a feature.
Turns out, there is such a thing as too much fun, and Together Through Time really walks the line between providing a bountiful electro-funk harvest, and burning me from overexposure to the neon light reflected off mirror balls. The last three or four tracks lose steam for me (“Pets” gets a partial pass because of its solid bassline and keyboard work), being mostly a retread of what was accomplished better in songs before. Sure, the saxophone implementation into “Strike a Pose” and “Feels Pretty Good” is nice, but vocoder can only take you so far. Shaving off a couple tracks would have helped the overall pacing of the album.
This is just super fun, kitschy stuff. You either need an acquired taste for its unabashed, disco groove worship or to relax your differing sensibilities to enjoy the neon-level brightness. A pair of sunglasses wouldn’t hurt on this trip of synth-driven escapism. As such, Together Through Time is a wonderful precursor to summer, and I anticipate it getting a good amount of playtime as I work indoors the entire season daydreaming of being elsewhere.
Notable Tracks: “Phantom Racer”; “Take Care of U”; “Tactile Sensation”
FFO: Duck Sauce, Daft Punk, Justice, Ninja Sex Party