Distancing is a euphoric, blown out, pastel coloured rock ‘n’ roll road trip down dusty backroads.

The figure framed by a low-angle shot on the cover of Distancing perfectly captures the tone and textures of Twist’s sophomore album. Distancing is a euphoric, blown out, pastel coloured rock ‘n’ roll road trip down dusty backroads. These are roads not native to songwriter Laura Hermiston’s Toronto home. The horizon ahead and behind her is a near-perfect straight line where endless desert meets infinite sky. No trees, no phone lines, not another soul in sight. All the windows are rolled down, allowing Hermiston’s featherlight voice and alternate-universe AM radio country-surf-pop-soul music to waft across the wastelands.

Opening tracks “Tides” and “Venus” roll on shimmery, sunny 60s pop vibes, but it’s on third song  “Waves” where Distancing’s engine starts revving. The song rides on a fever dream groove while snatches of dissonant guitars bounce against its undulating rhythms. Like heat rippling off sunbaked asphalt, “Waves” is all hallucinatory delights. It’s the song that most audibly bears the mark of Hermiston’s production partner, Brian Borcherdt (of Holy Fuck), but it’s the way Hermiston’s vocals dance and twirl, building melodies out of thin air, that ultimately makes “Waves” click.

Hermiston’s not looking back as she breezes through the pearly pop pedigree of “Places”, “Towers”, and the title track, intent on driving Distancing’s themes as far as they will take her. Where other songwriters may run out of fuel and sputter through a series of filler tracks, Hermiston’s understated and uncomplicated songs keep motoring through the penultimate track “Nice Age” and beautifully blissed-out closer “Blowin”. Though it’s hard to tell if that figure on Twist’s album cover is at the start or end of her trip, one thing is clear: Distancing is more about the journey than the destination.

Amelia Curran
They Promised You Mercy