MY WICKED TWIN – Decibel Music (2008 MWT)
Helix fans take note, since My Wicked Twin was 3/4 composed of former members of that band. Brent Doerner and his twin brother Brian first joined Helix in 1975-76, and both were members of that band more than once. Brent in particular clocked in a couple decades total in Helix. Brian spent a few years touring and recorded with Saga as well. Joining them on bass is Mike Uzelac aka “Uzi”, who played and wrote on their Capitol Records debut No Rest for the Wicked (1983). None of these guys seemed to have lost anything with the years.
My Wicked Twin evolved from Brent’s first solo outfit, Brent Doerner’s Decibel who released an excellent CD in 2006. From that earlier incarnation comes guitarist/vocalist Shane Schedler, a talented Kitchener-area musician whom I first met back in the 90’s at the old Record Store. Needless to say I’m a little biased when it comes to reviewing these guys. Being objective is the goal, so let’s get on with it!
On first listen it’s clear that Brent has raised the bar. This time there’s more music (12 songs), and it’s noticeably heavier. At the same time it’s also more diverse, and the production is improved.
I need to single out “Maybe Love” as a particularly outstanding track. When I saw them debut it live in ’07 it was obvious what a great song it was going to be. Its evolved into a superior hard rock song with a melodic vocal and a thoughtful lyric. There are top-tier rock bands who don’t put out material as good as “Maybe Love” on their albums. This is a song to be proud of, absolutely. Brent made a pretty cool video for the song too.
Most of the rest of the album is more raw, and more rock. “All The Action”, with its adventurous melodies, is a highlight. “One Big Bad Whoopie” is a lyric in which Brent shows his sly humour, something that comes frequently on this album. “Decibel City Hall” and “Get Your Game On” are fast boogie rockers a-la-Van-Halen-with-Roth. If you’re a hockey fan, you may have heard “Get Your Game On” before the album came out, as the band submitted it to the CBC for their “Write the new Hockey Night In Canada theme song” contest. (I prefer it to the selection they finally picked, but hey, it may be a tad too rock n’ roll for Hockey Night In Canada.)
Other standouts include “The Sting I Need” and “Love is What I Lean On”. “Alone Again, Face to Face” is a nocturnal, sneering rocker. “That Kind of a Love” is a guitar haven within a stunning power ballad. I tend to use the word “epic” a lot, but it does apply here, especially in the middle when it goes all Zeppelin. As one would expect with musicians of this caliber, the playing is more than competent. Brent and Shane weave cool lick after cool lick, while Brian and Mike groove with nuance. While everything is solidly rock n’ roll, the rhythms are not simplistic, and paying attention to the drums will produce many smiles.
Pick up My Wicked Twin’s Decibel Music, if you’re a fan of rock “the way they used to make it”. But give it time to grow on you. Some songs have a lot going on, and not many are instant. Play it a few times. You’ll be glad you found this band. Or, in their words:
“So don’t steal our record,
Cause we gotta eat,
So buy our record,
Satisfies, ’cause we love the taste of meat,
We love the taste of meat!”
I’ve seen the juicy ribs Brent eats, so I’m inclined to agree.