Through their first two album, Twin Peaks developed a reputation as a rock ‘n roll party band. From their scuzz rock of their debut Sunken to the intoxicating euphoria of their sophomore album Wild Onion, the Chicago quintet’s music was premised on one thing – having a good time. Their high-energy music translated well to the stage, where their live shows are among the most frenetic in the business. Their third album, Down In Heaven, however, sees Twin Peaks graduate from dorm parties to rocking out at intimate, Sofar Sounds-style house shows. The music is still classic rock in its origins, but the songs are more polished, the songwriting is stronger, and the sound is laid-back, unpretentious rock ‘n roll. In other words, Twin Peaks are all grown up.
This is evidenced at best with the bluesy keys provided by new addition Colin Croom on “Holding Roses”, Rolling Stones-esque tune with a great groove, and the splendid ballad “You Don’t“, a dreamy, psychedelic-pop tune that bridges the Beach Boys and the Stones. And further demonstrating the band’s growth are “Cold Lips” and “Have You Ever?”, which are unexpectedly funky songs with lots of swagger. “Cold Lips”, in particular, may give images of Mick Jagger strutting across the stage.
While the band hail from the Windy City, there is a lot of southern charm on the album. The twangy “Walk To The One You Love” is Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers-esque, but spun with the southern rock of Futurebirds. With “My Boys” and “Getting Better”, Twin Peaks bring the party from the dorm to the saloon with these toe-tapping, hand-clapping tunes. “Heavenly Showers” may be a stripped down song, but it has a bar-room, sing-a-long vibe a la Deer Tick. “Have You Ever?” is funkier but similarly a highly catchy, shout-out-loud track.
Not everything, however, has changed. With “Butterfly”, Twin Peaks bring some of the scuzzy, garage rock they are known for to classic rock. “Keep It Together” is perfect for a late-night drive, reminiscent of Dr. Dog’s gritty take of classic rock. It’s the one head-rocking, “hell yeah!” song on the album. The instrumental section with the horns, guitars, keys, and percussion is outrageously good.
These words also describe Down In Heaven. Twin Peaks may be grown up, but it doesn’t mean that they’ve forgotten how to create music that is fun and infectious. Instead, they’ve created an album that is intelligent, thoughtful, and, well, outrageously good.
Down in Heaven is out now via Grand Jury Music.
Twin Peaks are Cadien Lake James (vocals/guitar), Clay Frankel (vocals/guitar), Jack Dolan (vocals/bass), Colin Croom (keyboard/backing vocals), and Connor Brodner (drums). They are currently on an extensive, cross-America tour for the rest of the spring and into early summer. They will then head to the UK in the fall. See dates here.
Cover photo by Daniel Topete.
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