Fraternal Twin is the project of Tom Christie who, besides being a person who does cool things in general, plays bass in Quarterbacks. Skin Gets Hot, Tom’s first full band album under the Fraternal Twin moniker, has been nearly four years in the works and is (sonically) a large departure from the mile-a-minute rock space that Quarterbacks inhabits. The songs on Skin Gets Hot are noticeably his own, fleshed out by a cast of musicians that passed through New Paltz’s Salvation Recording Co. to help make the record.
The record itself is a dense, beautiful, and often-haunting patchwork of bedroom pop and baroque textures. It sounds timeless in its weight and wholeness. Skin Gets Hot is best consumed in entirety, though every one of the 31 minutes seems as improbably wonderful as the next; the crescendos of “Waterway” are indelible in a vein similar to those of Songs: Ohia, only to be superseded by the affecting wanderings of “Boil” three songs later. “Shadowgoing” has a mesmerizing guitar melody that is paired with one of the many poignant wonderings on the album: “it was just my shadow going, and once i turned you’d think i learn how to be alone”.
Taken all together the album is cohesively meditative, never obsessing over minutia, but instead realizing that minutia is what makes the world interesting. Tom, and by extension Fraternal Twin, attempts to mitigate the middle ground in which we live, something akin to stopping to smell the roses on the side of the road and almost getting hit by a Bud Light truck as you get out of your car. Thankfully, when you get back in the car, you can put on Skin Gets Hot and drive far, far away.
Skin Gets Hot is due out May 5th. You can pre-order the tape via Apollonian Sound, and stream the album in its entirety below.