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Album Review: Bent Twig

A lot about Bent Twig’s second full-length album, The Asymmetry of Life, is intriguing.

For one, the sound clearly stands out on its own — a mixture of hip-hop, funk, jazz, rap, rock and soul. But honestly, it’s tough not to start the discussion about the artists that make up the duo. One half is Samson “Soos” Szakacsy, a quarterback at Arizona State University. The other half is UW student and senior offensive lineman Gregory “Preach” Christine.

The two were featured in The Daily almost a year ago, and described selling demos to classmates in high school to save up for an 8-track digital recorder. Their first LP, Daily Thoughts, proved it was money well spent. Meanwhile, The Asymmetry of Life continues the trend. It’s also currently available for free download at musicalpoets.com.

Rhymes throughout the album aren’t mind-blowing: “rolling” with “bowling,” “pier” with “here,” or “gone” with “song.” But that’s part of its charm: Bent Twig’s sound is laid back, the production value is high, and the lyrics make both Christine and Szakacsy come off as genuinely good guys. It doesn’t come as a shock that every song has a summery, Southern California vibe to it, since the two hail from Camarillo, Calif., just outside Los Angeles.

Production on a standout like the two-minute “California Dreamin’” is irresistible, with a sort of dazzling glisten to it. Christine takes the first minute (“I gotta supplement all the things that I miss/so instead of In-N-Out, a cheeseburger from Dick’s”) and Szakacsy takes the second (“I’m sitting on the beach in the open sea/lookin’ right at God, lookin’ right at me”). “Cinderella Girl” might even be better. Thanks to a jabbing bass line, it features a funk feel with a chorus that’s reminiscent of the auto-tune sound on Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak.

Some local talent is brought in as well. “Like You,” in which Christine raps in honor of his father, features Seattle soul artist Carson Henley delivering the best chorus on the album. Moreover, Seattle rapper Grynch shows up on “Something.” In addition to a soothing horn inside the last minute, he makes the song a winner.

The Asymmetry of Life does have some problems. For instance, too many songs don’t differentiate enough from others, with certain beats sounding too similar to their counterparts. Plus, at more than 50 minutes, it drags on a bit too long. Nevertheless, even though the album doesn’t keep your attention every step of the way, this is still an impressive effort. Besides the length, it manages to never feel overdone, a testament to Christine’s obvious musical smarts and talents.

Bent Twig isn’t going to launch into immediate stardom, but it’d be a surprise if The Asymmetry of Life doesn’t at least turn some heads around Seattle. Whether you’re cruising Alki or taking in an afternoon on Green Lake, this could easily become a local summer favorite. Oddly, thanks to one of its players, the four-month wait for Husky football just became a little more tolerable. Now that’s a man of many talents.

B.

Reach reporter Bryden McGrath at weekender@dailyuw.com.

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