After the release of their debut album In Heaven, Twin Sister responded to hardships -- including their departure from Domino Records and surviving a near-devastating car accident while on tour -- by completely transforming themselves. Rechristened Mr Twin Sister, their self-released, self-titled second album is so different from their previous music that it feels like their true debut. Reflecting its genesis, Mr. Twin Sister celebrates music's transformative powers, combining house, industrial, R&B, trip-hop, and more into sultry, glamorous electro-pop like "Twelve Angels," which sounds a bit like a more club-friendly take on Silent Shout-era Knife. Bookended by songs that ease the album into, and out of, a night that unfolds from primping to flirting to dancing, Mr. Twin Sister is miles away from In Heaven's bubbly indie pop. While the quirkiness of songs like "Gene Ciampi" is sometimes missed, the band channels the chameleonic quality of their earlier music into sleek, hooky songs that refuse to be pinned down easily. "Rude Boy"'s slinky chord changes and synths add a disco edge to its glittering, slow-motion pop fantasia," while the smoky sax and pulsing backing vocals on "In the House of Yes" make dancing at home alone feel like the equal of hitting the world's most exclusive club. Meanwhile, between "Out of the Dark"'s glimpses of nightlife caught between strobe lights and streetlights, Andrea Estella sings what might as well be Mr Twin Sister's manifesto: "I am a woman/but inside I am a man/and I want to be as gay as I can." Musically and emotionally, the band embrace all possibilities and identities on tracks like the glossy "Blush," where Estella wonders, "Is there a real me or am I just a series of nights?" in a way that's equally questioning and seductive." Despite, or perhaps because of, its ambiguity, Mr. Twin Sister is the band's most grounded and confident work, its beats making contact with terra firma in challenging, playful ways. It's a striking reinvention, and one that reveals more with each listen.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares