Twenty One Pilots Clancy album review: If it ain’t broke….

by | Music

Review By Ameena Ceesay

With new singles sprinkled throughout the year, the anticipation for a new album from this alt rock duo was immense. Now it’s finally dropped, their first in 3 years. The fundamentals remain unchanging, but it’s yet to run its course. 

The singles

Let’s shift our attention to the singles first. Prior to the full release of Clancy, fans had been drip fed these 4 tracks essentially on a monthly basis tracing back to February. The album’s first single and opener Overcompensate, is probably the most atypical of this lineup. In that it throws a lot at you in the first third.

“Sonically, it’s great,especially with that earworm of a chorus”

After a brief piano interlude, lyrics varying in German, French and Spanish are laid out over an industrial instrumental. We finally settle into familiarity with vocalist Tyler Joseph taking the reigns, but after the repeating of lyrics “Wait, what /Wait, what” the quick pace of the backing track slows down without warning. This could be grounds for a messy record, but sonically, it’s great, especially with that earworm of a chorus. 

The others are structured more as proper songs in the generic sense, with some interesting tweaks to keep from being a copy/paste job. Next Semester, is void of Joseph’s now signature rapping, and almost has a punk element to it in the drums and guitars.

Backslide is a very Twenty One Pilots-sounding track- the second verse rap, the same sounding pre-chorus, the works. The band could’ve placed this on any of their older records such as Blurryface, and it would’ve been as forgettable there as it is here.

“A beautifully craftedacoustic number”

The Craving (labelled on the album as ‘Jenna’s Version’), is a lovely change of pace. A beautifully crafted acoustic number that sheds light on Joseph’s wife, and acts as a confession of his struggles of articulating his love and feelings towards her. While not raw lyrically, the sentiment and the melody makes this a winner.  

Additional tracks

The rest of the album is informed by these singles, and the directions they had taken in the past. For example, Oldies Station is very reminiscent of the pop accents of their previous album, Scaled and Icy. Midwest Indigo has the band go pop-punk, a curious diversion off the back of Next Semester. Vignette, a hidden gem on this album, is another stereotypical TOP track, but has a lot more substance to it than Backslide.

The closing track, Paladin Strait, is TOP adjacent while almost sounding similar to Tame Impala, just with the synths stripped away. Another one to keep on rotation if both artists float your boat. 

Clancy provides fans with the quintessentials as a foundation, while linking the old and the new in intriguing ways. While the shift in their style isn’t significant, it’s still proving to be superb.

Hear the latest Moa McKay Single Heartbreak Billie