I have never understood the appeal of “Twin Peaks.” It had a weird aesthetic and seemed like another token hip and cool television show whose virtues would be espoused by film majors until the day they die. Thankfully, I’ve recently discovered Twin Peaks the band and now I’ll be damned if I ever think about that stupid David Lynch show or its upcoming reboot ever again.
Already a prominent band on Chicago’s DIY scene, Twin Peaks is made up of Cadien Lake James, Clay Frankel, Connor Brodner and Jack Dolan, all of whom have been friends since their days in grade school. Now touring to promote their third album “Down in Heaven,” which releases May 13, Colin Croom has joined the gang, probably to play some of the keyboard parts found on this most recent album.
I really got into Twin Peaks by watching videos of their live performances on the YouTube. Check out their Audiotree Live session featuring songs from their second album “Wild Onion.” If “I Found a New Way” or “Telephone” do not want to make you dance around your room like an idiot I don’t know what will. Their enthusiasm and passion is incredibly engaging and the music is great as well. However, Twin Peaks took a bit of a step away from the straightforward rock n’ roll that characterized their first two albums with “Down in Heaven.”
Right off the bat, the first track “Walk to the One You Love” sets a pretty easygoing tone for the album. In classic Twin Peaks fashion, vocal duties are shared by James, Frankel and Dolan. It’s Frankel’s raw sounding, dare I say Mike Jagger-y, singing that grabs your attention the most on “Down in Heaven.” “Wanted You” has a very Rolling Stones vibe to it, with some classic rock sounding guitar and Frankel belting out “I wanted you, but you didn’t want me” on the refrain. The song is awesome and sounds like the Twin Peaks dudes doing an homage to a bygone era.
“Butterfly” is as close to a banger as Twin Peaks gets on “Down in Heaven,” but after a couple of listens you can’t help but jam out to the track. The beauty in this album is in the expanded arrangements. Piano adds a nice new sound to the band and is best heard on tracks like “Holding Roses” and “Getting Better.” Then the horns on songs like “Cold Lips” and “Lolisa” give Twin Peaks another dimension I wouldn’t have thought they had after listening to their first two albums.
“Down in Heaven” is a delightful album from Twin Peaks. I’m not sure how much a DIY rock band ever wants their music to be categorized by delightful but hey, it is. Then again, Twin Peaks may be one of the only bands around these days who can slip the phrase “sycophantic c-nts” into a ballad like they do on “Stain.” The Twin Peaks dudes are coming to town May 20 at Boot and Saddle down on South Broad. This is going to be a show for the ages I tell you, and it’s on a Friday to boot. Come say hi, I’ll probably be making a fool of myself somewhere near the front of the stage.