Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is home to Twang's recording studio, and their sleeve designer, the spray-can artist, Temper. Burdened by NME's accolade of 2007's 'best band in Britain', pop law dictates that following brief success, the winning band disappear into the bin holding Kula Shaker and probably the Klaxons. So defying critics, The Twang return with an effortless 2nd album, thus announcing their front-lash.
They are truly a band; members are unlikely to be useful alone, much less recognisable. They are like the Enemy, only with Fisher Price political manifestos replaced by listening to girlfriends, or at least liking them. Most admirably, the lyrics are genuinely touching, like football fans reformed by a theatre trip.
Put it on the Dance Floor doesn't groove as it might wish, although Back Where We Started, masterfully mimics the Smiths - not that Morrissey would admit to ''speaking nonsense'' - and has a chorus as subtle as a ram raid. The strong single Barney Rubble is completed by a Merseyside, chiming guitar riff. It's cleaner and less punk-influenced than their debut, although the Madchester template hasn't changed, with loping intros and soaring, harmonious choruses throughout.
They stumble on Live The Life, which sounds like cabbies moaning about the North Circular, while Answer My Call is ambition needing a song; like Sgt Pepper without military ranking. However, the highlight, Encouraging Sign has a gorgeous, looped-piano; from men you wouldn't trust to move a piano. Its conversational delivery of, ''A quick step over the roof tops/to get to your house'' is disarmingly romantic, as is, ''I don't mean much I say/but when I said I liked you I really mean it''; like Lightning Seeds with a smaller dictionary.
So, Happy Mondays comparisons remain, with The Twang understanding the need for tight guitar lines to compensate for vocal limitations, but for a gang-like bunch of lads, this album has a surprisingly soft heart. --Tom Hocknell
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