It has been a long and exciting wait for Nick Hakim’s debut album Green Twins to drop. The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter last graced us with his EPs, Where Will We Go Pt.1 & Pt.2, back in 2014, and since then there has been little to whet the appetites of his fans. But, finally, Green Twins is here and ready to upset the apple-cart with its genre-twisting blend of soul and psychadelia.
Admittedly, Hakim’s venture is underwhelming on first listens. Coming across as a little disjointed, the interesting explorations of the individual songs don’t necessarily fit together in terms of the album as a whole, meaning themes are developed and then suddenly dropped by the next song. Also, the bigger sound and instrumentation that Hakim has captured at times seems to take away from the main ingredient: Hakim himself. His voice comes across at times as subdued by the reverb-heavy production, and ultimately there is no real moment where the music makes you literally stop and stand still like it does in ‘Where Will We Go’. However, on repeat listens, the Green Twins continues to offer something completely different and unexpected.
As you begin to delve into the record, you find that those little moments of song writing that make you spasm with musical goosebumps are absolutely littered throughout the album. It is the enchanting and roaring vocal line of ‘Bet She Looks Like You’, the dazzling syncopated hand-hit drum beats of ‘Cuffed’, the almost edible saxophone of ‘Miss Chew’; all these moments begin to pile up until you find yourself crawling back to them again and again, apologising that you didn’t appreciate them enough first time round.
On top of that the whole album sounds like it was recorded in a claustrophobic, mile-long corridor, with Hakim at one end and a microphone at the other. It gives of this wonderful sense of breached distance, as the ghostly vocals and piercing guitar squeals swirl back and forth, causing the walls of this imagined corridor to ache under the strain of atmospheric awe barely contained.
Perhaps the weight of expectation I had for Green Twins skewed my original listens, but my god does it come back with a bite.