International in background but English in gathering, Vanishing Twin (whose name refers to the foetal resorption of singer and multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas’ twin during pregnancy) take the title and inspiration from their second long-player from 2003 book by anthropologist A. David Napier. We’re very much in concept territory here: Napier’s book argues that ‘the central assumption of immunology - that we survive through the recognition and elimination of non-self - has become a defining concept of the modern age,’ and ‘shows how this defensive way of looking at the world not only destroys diversity but also eliminates the possibility of truly engaging difference, thereby impoverishing our culture and foreclosing tremendous opportunities for personal growth.’
Against the backdrop of Brexit and binary division, Vanishing Twin reflect upon this with dismay and commentate on ‘living through a period where borders are being hardened, walls are being built and new boundaries being needlessly imposed’.
Sonically, it’s a dreamy, drifty set of songs, combining blippy electronica, laid-back, shuffling beats and shoegazey washes of sound. At its best, the Stereolab comparisons are entirely on point as Vanishing Twon spin easy grooves with mellow vibes that are retro to the core. At its worst, ‘The Age Of Immunology’ strays into trippy, self-absorbed festival-friendly psychedelia, complete with trilling woodwind, busy jazz percussion, and various 60s stylistic tropes. But even then, the message emerges from beyond the medium, making ‘The Age Of Immunology’ an easy album for difficult times.