REVIEW: The Two Tens Poke Fun at Life with New Album, ‘Volume’

The Two Tens by Donna Balancia for
The Two Tens

‘Volume’ by The Two Tens Ranks With Some of the Best

The Two Tens - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
Adam Bones – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – The Two Tens are just like anyone else.  Their new album Volume reflects the feelings of frustration, disappointment, success and happiness we all have.  The difference is The Two Tens bring you there with them, then send you off on your own feeling a lot better than before you played their music.

Produced by Bruce Duff and The Two Tens, this is the kind of punk/new wave sound that gives hope that indie rockers can actually break on through.

The Two Tens are like half the Ramones only good looking. There’s an innate smirk almost like they’re up to something or they’re sharing a joke we’re not a part of.  But when you listen to the music and check out the lyrics, you get it.  And if you don’t, well then you’re out of it.

The Two Tens - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia for
The Two Tens – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia for

The songs on Volume range from happy and upbeat to morose and comically depressing, capturing the human condition as seen through the eyes of two 20-somethings.

They seem to have a resigned attitude about facing life’s challenges. It’s like, “Do it or Don’t” to The Two Tens.  Pretty simple stuff.

The Two Tens put it all out there.  Love, breakups, aspirations, defeat and victory — it’s all there and if anyone had good sense they might take to heart the words of these very clever and smart artists.

What is particularly inspiring is Adam and Rikki as musicians continue to overcome the odds and do it in their “one day at a time” approach.  They got the album majority-financed with a Kickstarter campaign. And while these days they play to mostly packed houses, there were the times not so long ago when a handful of audience members showed up to see a headliner, but got the surprise of their lives from this twosome.

Adam Bones brings his wild style to every performance - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia for
Adam Bones brings his wild style to every performance – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia for

It’s been a strong undercurrent of word-of-mouth reviews that have drawn the fans to this unlikely duo.  Adam, tall and lean, complete with his big black head of bouncing hair could have been a great gymnast as he leaps and bounds all over the stage bringing a compelling front man act that leaves the audience breathless.

Rikki, a blonde beauty with a deceptively angelic smile, attacks the drumkit with a force reminicent of the great rock drummers of the 1980s and ’90s.  Rikki’s “to hell with the finesse” attitude carries this band from strong and appealing, to riotously wild and mind-blowing.

On Volume, it certainly sounds as if there’s a group of four hammering away at these punk-inspired rock songs. But once you see The Two Tens perform, feel their energy and let all your senses absorb, you understand.

Adam once gave an explanation about the sound from a technical standpoint, saying they split the sound into a bass amp as well as a regular amp, but it’s deeper than that.

Volume is a reflection of the feelings we all have from time to time, put out there for all to see and then The Two Tens set the detonator and blow it to bits.  Oddly, their music makes us feel both rebellious and satisfied at the same time.  And that’s the rare quality.

The Two Tens - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
The Two Tens – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Notable songs are aplenty on Volume. “Scene” is an incredible song, with strong guitar work, and Rikki manhandling the drums at a frenetic pace. “Ella Don’t Like My Hat” sounds very much like a Ramones song, as do many of the songs on the album.  But apparently it was based on a real-life encounter that Adam had with someone he liked who really didn’t like the hat.  Can you say “Shallow?”  “I Can’t Win,” is a cheery upbeat tune about being a loser but if the melody reflects what not winning is about, count us in.

The Two Tens are visually compelling live and the big sound of the tunes on Volume are not diminshed when seeing the duo in person: Reverb, echo and fuzz are the key words here.

OK so The Two Tens, why not just call themselves “20?”  Because like Volume, they each are 10s in the truest sense.



Released February 26, 2016

Recorded at Kitten Robot Studios ( in Los Angeles, CA and Toneduff Studio in Hollywood

Produced by Bruce Duff and The Two Tens

Engineered by Paul Roessler and Bruce Duff

Mixed and Mastered by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit, MI (

Cover art by Stephen Blickenstaff

The Two Tens on tour to support new album, Volume - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
The Two Tens on tour to support new album, Volume – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia