Around the time I was working at my last job, a franchise of the Twin Peaks sports bar had opened up near my hometown. As talk among my coworkers turned to the entendre of that establishment’s title, I casually referenced the seminal 90’s drama of the same name, only to be met with blank stares. I did not work at that job for much longer.
Chicago rock group Twin Peaks, on the other hand, are well aware of their namesake and readily assert their distinction in the opening of their band bio. The music of ‘Sunken,’ Twin Peak’s debut record being re-released by Autumn Tone Records, couldn’t sound more different than the dark, brooding connotations of the album title or even the band’s own name. No, you’ll have to wait another week to get a genuine dose of Lynchian surrealism, for Twin Peaks are here today bearing golden waves of glistening rock goodness.
Though just college aged themselves, the men of Twin Peaks are well versed in the surf rock of years past, specifically that of The Pixies, a band to whom comparisons can be all too common but are valid here all the same. The fuzzed-out guitars and yelp-nasal vocals are readily recognizable, though credit where it’s due, Twin Peaks eschew the loud-soft song structure and make use of echoing vocal production that nicely complement the overall chill vibe. but the similarities extend even deeper into the production itself. Just as ‘Surfa Rosa’ kicked off a revival of stripped down production, ‘Sunken’ gives off the vibe of being cobbled together from one or two simpatico studio sessions. None of it feels sloppy, and credit where it’s due, Twin Peaks eschew the loud-soft song structure and make use of echoing vocal production that nicely complements ‘Sunken’s’ overall chill vibe.
Each track is a jewel of economic craftsmanship. Where many a modern radio single can come and go without leaving an impression, in just about two minutes, the songs of ‘Sunken’ establish tone theme and even multiple hooks to bop along too. “Fast Eddie” quickly asserts itself as not only the standout cut, but a front-runner in my mind for “song of the summer” status. It kicks off the album’s central hat trick of kinetic jams, followed by the even more punkish “Out of Commission” and lead single “Stand in the Sand,” a purposefully rambunctious beach party anthem that really hammers home how timeless all these songs actually sound.
On the softer side, Twin Peaks prove that less than three minutes is still plenty of time to impart a track with a lasting sense of depth and intrigue. “Natural Villain” takes listeners for an enchanted stroll, even as it paves the way for the bombast that’s to follow, and “Irene” sparkles with luxurious bass and distant backing vocals carried on the wind. The greatest testament to Twin Peaks’ skillful control has to be the epic length (3:18) “Boomers.” At first, it almost seems like the band have resigned themselves to call it in early and coast on rigid, cyclical riffs. Right at the halfway mark, Twin Peaks break out into a swinging breakdown that casts the calm before it in an entirely new light, and the rest of the song is now basked in the warm glow of sunset bathed sands.
At just under 20 minutes, ‘Sunken’ may technically be more of an E.P. rather than a full album. That said, Twin Peaks have crafted a sound for themselves that’s wholly their own, yet radiates with the essence of the countless songs of Summer that have preceded them. This is definitely a record that you’ll want to keep on deck for your next day in the sun.