Twisted Illusion-Upstairs To Optimism-Album Review-Planetmosh

Twisted Illusion

Reviewed by:
On 20 May 2023
Last modified:20 May 2023


With the recent release of Upstairs To Optimism, the last thing thing Twisted Illusion need to be is optimistic!

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed Twisted Illusion and I don’t know why but the stars have aligned once more as they have not just released their fifth studio album Upstairs To Optimism, they unleash it! Formed in Manchester 2013 by Matt Jones, his herculean work ethic has seen five thousand physical albums sold directly to fans in over twenty countries, all without a record label or financial support.

Numerous line up changes have settled into what I think is their strongest line up that have made their strongest album, point proven by opener ‘Analyse And Incentivise’, a beautiful but also intense song of lilting piano, bubbling bass and sparse guitar lines for a tingling, lengthy intro. Matt’s trademark helium fuelled vocals add extra bite to this ten minute monolith, picking up pace for hard rock par excellence that vies for the spotlight over quirky time changes and twin lead guitar overload.

‘Gone Tomorrow (Crash Bandicoot’s Lament)’ goes for the throat from the off before settling into a feelgood vibe of heart tugging vocals and inventive drum patterns that snap over piercing guitar lines.

‘We Tried To Make It’ is like a romantic stroll in the park where everything is perfect as this sun kissed song is a vocally dominated tour de force that entwines around precisely picked guitar notes.

A deftly touched guitar intro heads off into a sort of jazz fusion head scratcher for ‘Identity’ around a sweet vocal from another World, ending on a frenzied guitar freak out.

‘Spotlight (Not Limelight)’ is a no frills riffer for all the air guitarists out there (including me!). It chugs along hypnotically over a stadium filling vocal onslaught.

An ethereal delivery for ‘Stay Your Course’ sees stratospheric height vocals and guitars pinned down once again by a watertight rhythm section.

‘Tired’ sounds uncannily like Crosby, Stills And Nash but not to the point of plagiarism as these vocals could melt the coldest heart, flying left to right and back through my headphones like two sirens of the sea. Acoustic guitar adds beautiful flavours to an already captivating song.

‘Totality’ is one last mindf**ck to close this magnum opus on a poppy but still heavy enough to shake your foundations, point proven by the adrenaline rushed outro.

Purchase links to the Upstairs To Optimism album and other band info are here :-

Upstairs And Optimism album track listing :-

Analyse And Incentivise.

Gone Tomorrow (Crash Bandicoot’s Lament).

We Tried To Make It.


Spotlight (Not Limelight).

Stay Your Course.



Twisted Illusion band personnel :-

Matt Jones – Lead Vocal/Guitar.

Saxon Davids – Guitar/Vocals.

Chris Jones – Bass Guitar/Vocals.

Andy Gotteri – Keyboards.

Alex Lacey – Drums.

With the recent release of Upstairs To Optimism, the last thing thing Twisted Illusion need to be is optimistic!

About Dennis Jarman

Full time downtrodden album/gig reviewer and part time rock God!