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Two Another have been on a long journey to their debut album. Despite it being their first full-length project, on these 10 songs the Australian duo tell a story of traversing continents and weathering storms together. At one point, it looked like they might never make it here at all. But on the elastic, joyful pop-soul record Back to Us, they show the light at the end of the tunnel.
Eliot Porter first met his co-producer Angus Campbell when they were both teenagers. Angus was friends with Eliot’s older brother, but the pair were gradually drawn together through a music production workshop they attended at school, and a mutual love of soul singers (Marvin Gaye, D’Angelo), sweeping Australian indie bands (Tame Impala, Cut Copy), and neon-hued dance music (Justice, Simian Mobile Disco). “Before I knew it, we ended up spending every single day in one another’s bedrooms smoking weed and making beats all day,” says Eliot. “And it just grew from there.” At first, the pair imagined themselves as Ed Banger-style DJs. But, says Angus, “we realised the stuff that excited us most was writing an actual song, and having vocals be at the forefront.” They became Two Another, a name they chose to reflect their fluid collaborative style.
Against the odds, their collaboration continued even as both entered their early 20s, and moved to Europe. They found that being in new cities injected them with a new burst of creative energy, and in 2015, they tentatively uploaded their first songs to Soundcloud. They were stunned when one that they’d forgotten to set to “private” grabbed 20,000 plays overnight. With the EPs that followed, their funk and soul-driven synth-pop turned heads among tastemakers online. Over the years, their sound evolved to something darker and deeper. Their acclaimed 2021 EP, Two Sides, was rich with melancholic melodies and creeping, downbeat basslines.
As they move into this new era, with the release of their debut album Back to Us, Angus says it’s a more “uplifting” sound for the duo. That brightening of their musical palette is a reflection of what’s been going on between the pair behind the scenes. “I had a bit of a mental health crisis,” Eliot says, reflecting on the time around three years ago when this darker period for the band began. “I was feeling very anxious and depressed and down on myself, and just had to address a lot of things, mainly about my sexuality.” Around the same time he checked into a rehab clinic, Angus was also going through a major life change, as his first child was born. “We had to take that time apart, and work on ourselves.”
But as it had when they were teenagers, music brought them back together. When they returned to sessions together after that time spent journeying along their own paths, they found their musical connection was stronger than ever. The result is the best music of their career: all irrepressible grooves, sun-bright synths, and earworm choruses. The album kicks off with “Jump”, an optimistic pop song with a funk bassline. “It’s about just letting go of inhibitions,” says Eliot. “And just taking a leap of faith.” Elsewhere on the album, the joyous hand claps of “One I Need” and blissed-out chords of “Without You” are both the stuff of romantic movie soundtracks.
And, of course, there’s the album’s title track: a ’90s R&B-inflected song that asks whether it’s possible to get back to a secure relationship after being in the doldrums. “That is, to me, what the album is really about,” says Angus. “It’s about us getting back to our friendship.”