Record Mirror, 5 Jan 91
TWIST OF FATE
WORLD OF TWIST caused a minor storm in the charts with their debut single, but the calm came just before they could make the top 40. They greet the New Year with ‘Sons Of The Stage’, a record that speaks volumes for their status as hot tips for 1991 - which is more than they did to Nick Duerden. Pictures: Paul Morgan
IT'S A WORLD OF SPIRALS
Dry ice pumps out until the entire stage is engulfed in the throat-spluttering stuff. Three band members sit facing their keyboards-cum-control units. Next to them is a lone guitarist. To one side a slide show flickers into distorted life, whilst in the middle a spinning ~ and clearly ironic — circular ‘Rock & Roll‘ sign begins its cycle, accelerating all the time. And then, from somewhere deep in the background, the singer emerges. He is tall, wiry and clad in a black leather shirt and a pair of unfetching hipsters. His microphone is pressed firmly against his sweating lips. The music starts pumping.
World Of Twist revel in their eclectic and idiosyncratic sound. The music spirals around in grand tiers, before cascading onto itself repeatedly, creating a wholly mesmeric and hypnotic rhythm.
Various backdrops busy themselves into mass hysteria while the screen explodes into a blur of images, colour and slanted psychedelia.
World Of Twist are an experience: Aurally and visually. What can words say? Only so much. This is the band responsible for sending many a scribe scurrying for the thesaurus in search of the perfect description. They are quite different - special even.
Hailing from Manchester, they first emerged on the ‘Home’ compilation in the middle of last year. One of a clutch of ‘baggy’ compilations, ‘Home’ differed in that it highlighted the diversity of the scene. A breeding ground for such young hopefuls as the New FADs, Paris Angels, the excellent Milltown Brothers as well as World Of Twist, it proved that whilst it was a good year for the Roses (and the Mondays and the lnspirals et al), it was pretty profitable for this bunch also.
World Of Twist's contribution was ‘The Storm’. An enticing, surging slice of atmosphere, it drew from a variety of influences — from the Sixties and Seventies through to the advanced techno that will be the Nineties. Garnering much attention, they subsequently signed to Circa, though the exact path they took seems rather foggy.
“No, we didn't get many offers," says guitarist Gordon. “Nothing much happened. " Singer Tony Ogden appears oblivious to this statement and tells a different story. “Yeah, it was great after that. Like a record company whirl. The phone never stopped ringing and we all got real excited. So much so, we all went out and bought new clothes." The way he says this is so dead-pan that no one can tell if he's serious or not.
IT'S A WORLD OF RAINBOWS
Regardless, ‘The Storm’ scaled the charts in triumphant fashion, but due to the Christmas rush, it fizzled out somewhat unfairly at number 42. But they're about to make a quick return and celebrate the New Year with an even better song: ‘Sons Of The Stage’.
A confirmed live favourite, it builds in momentum with each listening and is destined to appear in many ‘Best of’ 1991’ polls. Hotly tipped by almost everyone (not least Record Mirror) they are fast approaching that pot of gold at the end of the psychedelic rainbow.
Oh, they're chuffed alright, but they're not relishing either the photo shoot or the interview (interrogation?). On vinyl and on stage, they speak volumes. In interview, they speak very little.
Julia M Seashells, the band's, charming keyboardist, explains: “Sorry, but we tend to clam ‘up in interviews. No offence to the magazine, it's just we never seem able to say much at all." She then turns round and l optimistically asks if anyone has any good quotes prepared. The’ band remains silent - deadly so. Oh dear.
After much deliberation and hushed whispering, the band decide to “get the interview over and done with first" and suffer the impending photo shoot “sometime later". And, at Tony's request, we transfer ourselves to a nearby hostelry.
A quick chat with each of the band reveals that they're affable and forthcoming, but then l go and kill off the atmosphere completely. Placing my ageing tape recorder on the table before them proves disastrous. All eyes (except Tony's, which close altogether) widen in apparent fright. “Doing interviews is all about putting yourself on the line", says Julia, “and we're not too good at doing that.” Ahem.
The question of how long they have been together is answered surprisingly quickly by Gordon. “Er, four years. No make it three . . . two? Well, we've been around a while. Originally we were into playing country and western." This could well be a joke, though no one laughs.
IT'S A WORLD OF SILENCES
Rather than coming across as moody pop stars who specialise in being difficult simply to further their brooding reputation (naming no names), here, sprawled in this pub, World Of Twist seem genuine. They apologise for the lengthy silences that greet each and every question, but from time to time, Tony's eyes open and he offers a few sarcastic quips to liven things up.
“Course we've been lumped with the whole Manchester thing," he says. “S'funny, ‘cause all these bands are lumped together yet they sound nothing like each other. I'd say the only thing we have in common with so-called Manc bands is that we share the same influences. What are they? Ha, ask the Manchester bands. Ha ha!" He laughs loudly with a sort of deep throated cackle that makes you wonder if Sid James has risen from his grave.
He relaxes back, smiles and in this light (or in any light) looks remarkably like Leonard Rossiter in his ‘Rising Damp’ persona. Frightening isn't it?
Much of the band's reputation has been built around their theatrical stage show. With just three keyboards taking pride of place, one guitar and Tony stalking behind, they are quite, quite dazzling. This gripping effect suggests careful construction has taken place, but the band shrug and murmur, “Well, we just do it mainly for our benefit, though we think the audience like it as well."
“Getting to number 42 with ‘The Storm’ was just magic," says Tony. “l mean it was incredible, but it's playing live on stage that we like best. Love it."
Julia, somewhat encouraged, continues: “Oh yeah, it's great. We played Newcastle recently and everyone had a great time. Down the front was this couple leaning on the stage and kissing passionately. Constantly. They didn't stop once. Must have been the atmosphere we create eh?"
“And you know what?" poses Tony who, since obtaining a second drink, is speaking more freely, “Our stage set is going to get even better. The spinning heads are coming back [cut-out heads on long sticks that rotate are an integral’ part of their set] and we're going to get a curtain put up so no one can see the stage till we come on. Then it'll be like ‘Da Da Daaa!' and they'll all step back in amazement!" He cackles again.
IT’S A WORLD OF CUL-DE-SACS
Once his dirty laughter subsides, the silence returns and all eyes focus on the tape recorder. Removing it from the table completely then provokes Gordon to moan and groan. “Ah, interviews! It's not easy y'know. Just as well we're not on a promotional tour the way this one's going. Y'know we've not even seen any of the TV interviews we've done. Probably just as well really."
“You should have spoken to us last night, after a gig," says Julia. “We were having a great time. Loads of drinks and we were all well relaxed. That's when we're most talkative. Maybe next time eh?"
Even talk about their much sought after range of T-shirts (utilising a series of cigarette logos) prompts ' little conversation. At this rate, they're destined to remain complete mysteries to all, which will probably suit them fine.
Julia, seeing my pained expression, offers a little compassion. “l know. We'll take your phone number, ‘cause Tony often comes up with things to say a few hours too late. And as soon as he does, we'll give you a bell."
How sweet - although the phone never did ring.
“Hold on, I've just thought of a great quote," shouts Tony, as he downs a final gulp of liquid relief. “Listen to this: Some people think we're heading down a musical cul-de-sac, but we know we're heading down an open motorway with no turning back. How's that?"
That'll do nicely.