Let me go ahead and get this out of the way: I absolutely loath “twee pop” – the phrase, not the music. I enjoy much of the chiming, boy-girl-harmony-driven indie-rock sub-sub-genre to which the phrase applies. Although the term — borrowed from a British derogative idiom for “quaint” or “excessively sentimental” — is admittedly fitting for a specific type of syrupy-sweet underground pop tuneage, “twee” is a truly punchable word. Don’t even get me started on the re-appropriated winsome descriptor’s ice-pick-in-the-ear-canal-inspiring synonym “cuddlecore.” Gross. (Editor’s note: Something on the order of 1,200 words were trimmed from this rant.)
As much as “twee” is an intentionally irritating word that I thought had been relegated to the occasional Gen-X urban professional’s nostalgia-trip brunch conversation, the term might have contributed to bubblegum-psych trio Crystal Furs’ growing overseas acclaim. In our social media age, tech-savvy fans of jangle-pop discover new bands through Twitter mentions or by browsing sites like Bandcamp, filtering searches by genre tags such as “twee” and “indie pop” or “C86” (the famous 1986 cassette comp by British music mag NME that essentially defined the genre). It’s through this avenue that Crystal Furs have unwittingly found their way into the ears of hook-hungry Euros and how one of their tunes recently appeared on the radio in Barcelona.
“I still don’t know if there’s much of a Fort Worth indie-pop fan base,” said keyboardist Kevin Buchanan, half of the husband-wife combo that fronts the band. “If there is, we haven’t found it. But it’s still been going strong in places like the U.K., Germany, and Spain. … I want to be very careful and make sure I’m not overstating this.”