Chicago-based indie-rockers Twin Peaks have been releasing the same wallpaper indie rock over the course of three albums, sounding more like a bland melting pot of their favorite bands than anything else. Their third album Down in Heaven is the first time the band seemed like they were coming onto their own, but most of the album was drowned out with more filler that sounded just ok. Nothing terrible or nothing even bad, just entirely unexceptional. Most of the time while I’m listening to Twin Peaks, I’m thinking about what a waste of the name they are. To name your band after David Lynch’s surreal nightmare show, you must be worthy, and this band does not live up to the high standards set by that show. Or at least on their first three albums, and most of their fourth.
Lookout Low, their new record, shows for the first time what the band can do when they are maximizing their potential, but still the curse of filler plagues the LP. When asked to review this new album, I listened to the singles “Dance Through It” and “Ferry Song” and was shocked by what I heard. “Dance Through It” was surprisingly funky, and “Ferry Song” is the best track on the whole album (also in their discography as a whole) and sounds thousands of miles away from what they were releasing just a few years ago, complete with charming piano keys, a catchy hook and even horns. This is the fullest Twin Peaks’ sound has ever been, and it’s a massive step forward from the samey lo-fi garage rock tunes they were pumping out not too long ago.
Asides from these two songs, Lookout Low proves to be a frustrating listen, which is unfortunate considering how strong two of its singles were. It starts out promising with the songs “Casey’s Groove” and “Laid in Gold,” but the momentum is soon lost with the dreary “Better Than Stoned,” and the rest of the tracks follow suit. The only real reprieves from this monotony are those two tracks “Dance Through It” and “Ferry Song,” which to me stick out like a sore thumb for their quality. “Under a Smile” is another frustrating track that sounds nice but it just lacks something, which is telling of the rest of the record as well. Maybe this band’s missing element is memorability, maybe it’s instrumental variation, maybe it’s interesting songwriting, or maybe it’s interesting anything, or maybe it’s just me. — CHARLIE COLAN