The science fiction writer Larry Niven used to have a rule. Niven used to say (I’m paraphrasing), if you’re going to eat chocolate cake don’t waste those calories on inferior Leon confections, consume only the finest, creamiest, 80% cocoa Belgian sensation. Never waste calories. Niven called his rule his ‘Fuzzy Pink Law’ (after unsurprisingly, his wife), and it’s equally well applied to pop music. If you’re going to listen to pop, it should be fuzziest pinkest pop ever made. This is where Twee comes in. A later day descendent of Riot Grrrl and 1997, Sweedish alt pop, and pre-Britpop UK Indie, contemporary indie pop bands labelled ‘Twee’, share some things in common – Electropop or lowfi production, high pitched whisper soft or off kilter vocals, and a focus on sweet catchy melodies.
I’m sure there are bazillions, but the only Irish twee act I’m familiar with are Mark Cullen’s (Fixed Stars, Pony Club) briefly feted Bawl, though the band would likely have puked at the label. Elsewhere Twee is undergoing a revival of sorts, and recently indie darlings Los Campesinos (Interviewed in Analogue Issue 3) though not a twee band by any stretch of the imagination, released a single ‘International Tweecore‘ referencing and in part covering British Twee legends ‘Heavenly’ (not to be confused with the humourless but entertaining Operatic metal group of the same name).
A lot of stuff, has been mislabelled Twee, from Daniel Johnston’s outsider baroque folk pop, to post punk / proto-grunge acts like Beat Happenings (whose lead singer was involved in founding both Sub Pop, and my favourite label K-Records / K-Punk) or the Vaselines; but somewhere in between the Decemberists and Belle and Sebastian, between surf rock and anti-folk there’s twee, sparkling, unpretentious and unmistakable.
Tullycraft – How to Stuff a Wild Bikini
Indonesian Tweesters, Annemarie – Suicide on your Stereoset
The Besties – Prison Song