Going from strength-to-strength over the course of their past five albums, Twenty One Pilots have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with. From their eccentric roots in early releases, to their breakthrough single ‘Stressed Out’, to 2018’s critically acclaimed ‘Trench’, the Ohio duo have grown up with their fans, the product of which culminates with their latest studio album, ‘Scaled And Icy’.
Anyone familiar with Twenty One Pilots will know their instantly recognisable and distinctive sound. It’s something that has stuck with them since day one, and, luckily for their fans, while ‘Scaled And Icy’ is certainly a new direction for the band, they haven’t lost the idiosyncrasies that brought them attention in the first place.
‘The Outside’ has that familiar stompy slow burn of their earlier work, and ‘No Chances’, with its dark The Prodigy-esque intro and spat-out vocals, is Twenty One Pilots through and through. These tracks are a nod to where the band have come from, but the rest of the album is a clear sign of where Twenty One Pilots are heading.
From the first note of opener ‘Good Day’, the bright, bouncy summer vibes practically jump out of the speakers. It’s not something that most people will expect to hear from the duo; while they might’ve dipped their toe into these waters before (‘Tear In My Heart’, for example), they don’t exactly radiate sunshine and jubilance on the whole. But that’s all about to change with ‘Scaled And Icy’, which hops breezily from quirky synth-alt, reminiscent of 2000s scene bands like Hellogoodbye in ‘Choker’, to instant summer hit ‘Saturday’ and the care-free ’90s indie-pop of ‘Formidable’ with ease. At times, it feels like the album is just inches away from bubblegum pop, and, honestly, it’s a great sound for Twenty One Pilots.
As much as the gatekeepers might hate to admit it, bands like Twenty One Pilots are the future of alternative music and are very much keeping the scene alive. As ‘Scaled And Icy’ proves, the future is looking bright.