2022’s biggest indie rock breakout was undeniably Wet Leg. The duo released their debut album–full of deadpan vocals and blasé attitude–and won multiple Grammys and BRIT awards by the time it turned one. But whether they were giggling at the Grammys or singing lines like “I don’t know what I’m even doing here/I was told that there would be free beer,” Wet Leg displayed an irony and disinterest in the heart-laden embarrassment of being in a band.
It seems that attitude has caught on. This year, bar italia have caught a wave of interest for their brazen, smokey, and bite-sized indie rock. And similar to Wet Leg, they maintain an attitude of indifference. In a recent profile from The Guardian, the band members remark, “Anyone who gets a tattoo of us, we give them the time of day,” says Fenton. Oh, you’ve scarred yourself for life for a buzz band,” Fehmi joins in. “We’re going to be gone in a year. You’re going to have that tattoo for ever.” You
can nearly hear the dryness as Fehmi refers to bar italia as a “buzz band.”
But posturing as coolly indifferent and spending the effort to create something good can be an impossible balance to achieve. After all, there’s nothing more cool than effortlessness. Bar italia returned for their second album of 2023, another collection of dusty, cigarette-smoking, art school indie rock, dryly named The Twits. Once again, the London trio walks a tightrope between effortlessness and careless. And for the second time this year, they pull it off.
For all intents and purposes, The Twits is a continuation of May’s Tracey Denim. It’s scrappy and loose. Every song sounds like it was written on the fly and recorded off the cuff. The drumbeat of “que surprise” drags like heavy feet behind the rest of the band; the distorted guitar running throughout “bibs” shrieks like the guitarist is barely controlling the feedback; nearly every vocal delivered on The Twits could’ve been recorded after a bong hit. This looseness is disarming but engaging. They always keep it together, but they’re on the cusp of a weed-induced unraveling.
The moments where the trio lock in are some of The Twits’ most satisfying. Opener “my little tony” and single “worlds greatest emoter” balance their deadpan and flatness with a coy sense of humor. They tease a poser from across the room, “Your pretentious ways/Make me die a little” against the record’s crunchiest guitars. Fenton, Tarik, and Cristante trade verses across “worlds greatest emoter,” already over an ex. Their voices intermingle and reshape, blurring between sarcasm and boredom.
These songs offer a glimpse at a bar italia album where the band is really at their A Game. The Twits is even longer than its predecessor, and both albums don’t deviate much from their slacker-rock approach.
In short, it’s a lot of music from a band that loves to play indifferent. But you can tell bar italia care deeply, at the very least from their prolificness. They’ve got the passion, the attitude, the musical chemistry. They just needs to shake off a bit of that coolness and flaunt it.
Order the twits by bar italia HERE
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