Twin Atlantic have released new single ‘Stuck In A Car With You’ – the first from an upcoming “unhinged guitar record” – and shared news of an intimate UK tour. Check out ticket details and dates below, alongside our interview with frontman Sam McTrusty.
The first release on their own label Staple Diet, ‘Stuck In A Car With You’ is a return to the big, anthemic rock’n’roll of Twin Atlantic’s early records. “We’ve put our original fans through a bit of a whirlwind, because every record we’ve made almost sounds like a different band,” McTrusty told NME from his home studio in Glasgow.
While 2022’s ‘Transparency’ was a lo-fi electro-rock album and 2020’s ‘Power’ took heavy influence from synth-pop, “with this record, we wanted to make something for the fans, and the kids who first started this band,” said McTrusty. “‘Stuck In A Car With You’ is a no-nonsense, fast-paced rock song that shines a spotlight on the emotion behind it.”
He continued: “Since we released [2011’s] ‘Free’ and [2009’s] ‘Vivarium’, fans have basically been asking us to make those albums again. We’ve never been that excited by revisiting the past, but enough time has passed that it felt interesting to do.”
McTrusty, who’s also producing and engineering the as-of-yet-untitled album, added: “‘Stuck In A Car With You’ feels like a return but also, we know so much more about crafting songs now that it still feels fresh.”
Taking inspiration from “the joy and energy of Blink-182, the darker, punchy chaos of Nirvana and my favourite Bruce Springsteen lyrics,” ‘Stuck In A Car With You’ explores “hopefulness, yearning and trying to get out of where you’re from.”
“Music has always been a crutch that I’ve leant on to get me through certain things and as soon as I started playing rock songs on guitar again, it conjured up all these old feelings,” McTrusty admitted. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in life without acknowledging how important the little things are to you, until you’re forced to imagine living without them.”
Twin Atlantic’s return to emotionally-driven punk rock comes alongside a wider resurgence of the ‘00s pop-punk bands that the band grew up on. Fall Out Boy and Paramore are bigger than ever, while Blink-182 are in the midst of a global reunion tour.
“We did two arena tours with Blink early in our career, we visited Tom DeLonge at his studio in California and supported his Angels & Airwaves band across Europe. They’ve been a huge part of our career, as well as my musical inspiration, so it was nice to respect that with this track,” said McTrusty. Still, rather than chasing trends, Twin Atlantic were “acting on impulse” for their new album, with ‘Stuck In A Car With You’ the most urgent of those new songs.
The band are still in the middle of finishing up their new album, but according to McTrusty, “there are a thousand guitars on the record.”
“It’s an unhinged guitar record but we’re not shying away from the fact we know how to write big pop choruses and we know how to write an emotional, acoustic song that makes sense on a big rock record,” he explained. “We’ve gone back to that big, bold, colourful sound. It’s basically a massive Twin Atlantic album.”
Sam McTrusty of Twin Atlantic performs at the second day of TRNSMT 2021. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Writing for the new record began last August, following on from the 10-year anniversary tour for ‘Free’. “It just felt really good playing those songs again,” said McTrusty, with the band taking that energy into the studio.
“It felt like we were unshackled. After an arduous few years [that included not being able to tour two records due to COVID restrictions and the departure of drummer Craig Kneale in 2021] we just wanted to have fun. It’s really hard to be a rock band and it’s been quite an uncool, cheesy thing for the past 15 years, but it’s what we like, so we’ve kept at it.
“That’s why this record feels so joyous. We wanted it to reflect the happiness of us coming out the other side and still being able to make music, but not disregard the darkness we’d been through to get to this point.”
Talking about their desire for reinvention across their career, McTrusty said: “We’re just awkward Glaswegian art kids. Coming from here, we’ve always felt separate from most scenes anyway. We’re a weird band and instead of trying to fit in, we just ran in the other direction with it.”
“We’ve always put ourselves under a lot of pressure because we’ve always wanted to push things creatively,” he continued. “It felt like we had a responsibility to do something different after signing a record deal and finding a fanbase.”
However, their new album sees Twin Atlantic playing to their strengths, rather than trying to learn new ones. “When we started writing ‘Power’ I didn’t have a clue how any of the synths or electronic drums worked. I had to really dive into those genres, discover my own tastes, and experiment with sound. It took so much time and was mentally exhausting. With this one, I already knew how to make great guitar songs because of all the great producers we’ve worked with before. It just felt really comfortable.”
“It definitely felt carefree,’ added McTrusty “I still have all those old insecurities about ‘what if people don’t like it’ or ‘what if it gets absolutely slated’. I care about what people think but not in a way that stops me from doing whatever we want.”
When Twin Atlantic first started in 2006 from the ashes of various other local bands, McTrusty already had big plans. Growing up in a tenement flat near to Hampden Park Stadium, he was able to hear gigs from stadium rock groups like AC/DC and Red Hot Chili Peppers from his bedroom window.
“I’ve never been shy about wanting to play stadiums too,” he explained. “My ambition with the band has always been ‘how big can it be? Let’s make it bigger,’ knowing it’s an impossible challenge.”
“I was never going to put a cap on what I thought we could achieve,” he continued. “As soon as we played our first show to 30 people, I wanted more. I just wanted to feel as much as I could through music and that’s never changed.”
Later this year, Twin Atlantic are heading out on an intimate 12-date tour of the UK. “Maybe it’s a pre-midlife crisis where we want to go back to our teens, touring in a van to places we don’t normally go, but we’re really excited,” said McTrusty. “The shows are going to be fucking amazing and we’re going to give fans an unforgettable night. We’ve been doing this for a minute now and we know how to put on a show. We’re just going to come in and absolutely smash it.”
Check out the dates below. Tickets are available here.
Twin Atlantic play:
13 – Milton Keynes, Crauford Arms
14 – Lincoln, Drill Hall
15 – Southend-On-Sea, Chinnerys
17 – Guildford, Boileroom
18 – Ipswich, Baths
19 – Tunbridge Wells, The Forum
21 – Bournemouth, Old Fire Station
22 – Hertford, Corn Exchange
23 – Hull, The Welly
25 – York, The Crescent
26 – Blackpool, Bootleg Social
27 – Chester, Live Rooms