Chicago’s Twin Peaks have become infamous for their loose basement rock n’ roll sound and their energetic live performances to match. The band have been playing together for a decade and with each new release their production has felt richer, songwriting more nuanced and song craft more complete.
Even as they evolve and amass a following worthy of one of Chicago’s hottest bands, Twin Peaks still have the ability to create the infectious sound of five friends who genuinely enjoy making music together. Their latest release, Side A, is no different.
The creation of Side A came about as the band realised completing their next album would be hampered by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The band have described how they compiled the release from the tracks that were closest to completion, recording vocals one at a time in the studio or sending them in from home.
Amazingly, despite recording and performing apart for the first time since their inception, Twin Peaks have produced an EP that sounds as tight, thoughtful and cleverly crafted as any of their music to date.
Opening track ‘What’s The Matter’ does much of what Twin Peaks fans have come to know and love, with a punchy guitar and a chorus that begs you to sing along. But it comes with a set of fresh surprises with some delightful backing vocals to support Clay Frankel’s crooning voice and a charming flute solo that rounds off the track.
Each of Twin Peaks’ five members are accomplished songwriters and instrumentalists, but for Side A they sought the talents of fellow Chicagoans, Ohmme, Lala Lala and V. V Lightbody and their work has added to the depth of music produced on Side A.
‘Whistle in the Wind (End of Everything)’, the stand out track, exemplifies this and arrives with some new nuances. A smattering of saxophone creeps in and out of view and haunting backing vocals create an atmosphere unlike anything the band have previously produced. It is captivating.
The final two tracks on Side A return to slightly more familiar, but nonetheless charismatic, ground. ‘Any More Than You Want’ sees keyboardist Colin Croom take the lead vocals akin to his charming ‘Ferry Song’ – found on 2019’s Lookout Low – and Jack Dolan provides the raucous bassline that supports the 6-minute final track ‘Above Below’.
Twin Peaks are producing music at a stunning rate and show signs of a band that are ascending toward a creative peak. If Side A was due to be the first part of a new album, there is certainly a lot to be excited about when Twin Peaks emerge from lockdown and are back performing together again.
Side A is out today (3rd July).
Words by Dan Parker
Photo by Athena Merry