With their third LP, Stay Cool, Omaha-bred indie pop outfit Twinsmith shed the guitar-driven approach of their earlier efforts, reemerging with a lush, sunny, dream pop sound. Slimming down from a live band-oriented quartet, core duo Jordan Smith and Matt Regner began demo'ing songs in a more intimate bedroom pop direction using old drum machines and synths to paint their canvas. On their previous release, 2015's Alligator Years, Twinsmith struggled to distinguish themselves in a field crowded with similarly vibed summer-toned guitar bands and, while Stay Cool effectively ousts them from that fire into the frying pan of an equally competitive class of indie synth pop duos, it's a style much better suited to their good-natured delivery. Along for the ride is producer and fellow Omahan Graham Ulicny (Reptar, the Faint) whose good sense served to cull the herd of new tracks pouring in from Smith and Regner's combined efforts. At eight songs, Stay Cool is more spartan than its predecessor with arrangements that range from pleasantly minimalist to quite lush. The sparkling "You & I" mixes scuffed-up vintage drum machine rhythms with a bold skyward chorus that is equal parts '80s new wave and contemporary chillwave. The excellent "Matters" comes across as one of the more organically inclined tracks, pairing a guitar part reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" with live bass and drums coated in a bright synthetic sheen. By the album's second half, though, things start to lose focus as if the band were still fumbling in the dark searching for the right skin. Overall, Twinsmith continue to flash melodic savvy and solid performance chops, but a strong sense of personality still evades them.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger