By Zachariah Calluori
Twelve’Len is a band from Miami...and that matters. There’s not another place on the East Coast from which these sounds could come. Born of the sun, the music moves slow regardless of the tempo, as if slicing through thick, humid air. Vocalist Vares fronts the group, crooning with a voice that’s a combination of old Lil’ Wayne and Marvin Gaye, and sometimes adding rapped verses. The band bloomed into its current lineup in 2013, deciding to perform with live instruments. Previously, Twelve’Len relied upon programming to create the soundscapes and beats of Yellow and the Blue EP. The vibe was eclectic, meshing hip hop, soul, astral arrangements, and indie guitars. Check out the soulful “Love’n”, the prominent guitar in “With the Wind”, the bass-heavy rap n’ hook of “Yellow Watermelon”, the glitchy and sparkly “Give it up for Good”, and “Sweet”, in particular, for an exemplary of the synthesis of the aforementioned sonic strains. The spoken samples in “Sweet” complete the profile – it’s an early precursor of the Silver 14’ sound, which dropped before the start of last year.
Silver 14’ leads off with a sample of dialogue from When Harry Met Sally and echoes of the production on the first two releases. In the introductory tune, entitled “Goodbye, Hello”, a synth swells, the whispery noise of shooting fireworks eclipse the dialogue, and finally, a beat 20,000 leagues under the sea provides a framework. Some bass and a distant guitar hook give it groove, and strings smooth out the ending. Then...“Midnight”. From the first cross-stick, you feel that the live instrument lineup really clicks on this track. With the live instrument components, the indie rock parts of the sound bubbled to the surface. The guitar glitters like city lights on gently rippling waters. “Midnight” recalls a sonic space similar to mellower Bloc Party (think “Bluest Light”) with its new wave beat and guitar sound, but it is laid back and it kind of makes you happy. You’ll find yourself rocking as the song takes a detour to a bridge section that sounds like a red alert on submarine. With Twelv’Len, you’ll take the dive. You land on a pillowy third and final track – “Firework”. The Rhodes electric keyboard sound smoothes out this thoughtful piece.
In Silver 14’ form, Twelve’Len gave us one more track before the end of this year. The new single, “APPLE TREE”, dropped just a day ago in anticipation of the Pink Record, due for release sometime next year. Keep an eye out!
“APPLE TREE” builds on the “Midnight” sound. It’s hopeful and excited, as I’m sure you are for the Pink Record!