Following the release of their critically acclaimed record Down In Heaven’, Chicago’s Twin Peaks returned to Europe earlier this year to support Cage The Elephant and play their own headline show at London’s Moth Club.
Recorded in Michigan, Down In Heaven’ offers a calmer yet perfectly balanced mix of garage rock and seasoned songwriting. At turns raw, polished and wise beyond its years, it is a record all about feel: heartbreak, forgiveness, anger, jubilation, reinvention and growth. It’s rock new and old, it’s a little bit of country, it’s a whole lot of punk attitude, and it’s something to get excited about.
Hello! I start every review like that, to check that I’ve got the phone version of Word off bold and underline. I just thought I’d keep it this time. Hello!
Twin Peaks start strong. On record they feel much tamer. Live they have more the feel of early Jam or perhaps the Ramones (no Phone, NOT “Ramona”!).
One of the guitarists looks like my ex-girlfriend’s brother, who was lovely (hi Rich!).
Twin Peaks are comically young, swig lager, and say “woo” a lot. I like that. They also do those “Ooo-oooh! Yeah” backing vocals, and don’t care who the frontman is. All of these things are good. I particularly like them all standing in a line and taking turns at doing the singing.
The keyboardist (who I love for coming on stage with a cigarette in his mouth, harmonising through it, and then throwing it into the crowd) does a lovely line in Ray Manzarek-inspired organs (he also does a rubbish vocal playing a right-handed guitar left-handed).
The one who looks like Rich shakes his short-to-medium-length hair around like someone desperate to subvert the gender conventions of shampoo adverts.
They sound ridiculously American. Like, the way Tom Petty sounds American. Like the way “sippin’ whiskey and rye” sounds American. Well, ok, not like that, but as American as that. In fact, they sound more like what would be playing on some film set in American suburbia in a montage about teens being cool in their bedrooms
At some point the little kids push forwards. I happily let them through, feeling inappropriately proud that they’re discovering live music (seriously, they’re about ten!). Their dancing is inconsistent. Some of them get into it, but most feel a bit self-conscious.
The thing is, this is an excellent gig. It’s fun, playful, not too serious. The harshest word I could find would be “disposable”. But they’re not really that, they’re just very young and very poppy. And that’s ok.