‘Down In Heaven’ is the latest aptly named release from Chicago garage-rock quintet, Twin Peaks. The group’s third album is an angelic mixture of floaty, smooth slacker sounds and raunchy 60s style beats. It shows an excellent progression in the musical career of the Illinois boys.
The album begins with the fan favourite ‘Walk To The One You Love’. It sets a chilled, easy-going mood for the rest of the album, taking listeners to a place of torn sublimity. The contrast between the silky smooth lead vocals of singer/guitarist Cadien James and the husky backing vocals of singer/guitarist Clay Frankel adds an extra edge to the already catchy tune. This song is a perfect mixture of the band’s previous sounds and hints to a-little-something-extra which they have never fully ventured to.
In the last decade, the classic 60s revival sound has been sickeningly overdone. However Down In Heaven, showcases a certain unique quality which is hard to find amongst the hordes of Beatles and Bob Dylan regurgitations. This particular release has a fresh element which Twin Peaks left previously unexplored. ‘Keep It Together’ channels that sexy statement sound of The Rolling Stones. Mixed with the driving beat of T. Rex; this track boasts, not a revival sound, but rather a nod to those cool sounds from the legendary bands that you can’t help but shake your hips to.
‘Lolisa’ again draws from a 1960s influence with a lo-fi sweet sound not too dissimilar to that of folk pioneer Donovan. This sound is modernised and made their own by featuring off beat guitars and swirly, distorted vocals.
Their branching out to new pastures is balanced by classic Twin Peaks rasps, which are still very much present in the new album. Added brass sections and heavy use of percussion show for a mature creative development, giving their music a three dimensional edge that wasn't there before.
Their latest single, ‘Holding Roses’, features the familiar jangly guitar. However, a melancholic tone adds to the tune which is present in the lyrics. They tell tales of lost love; chorussing “goodbye baby / I really wish you could’ve stayed”.
The album’s gorgeous penultimate track 'Stain' runs in a similar sorrowful vein, with a waltz time signature that you can’t help but sway along to. The smooth, jangly guitars which remain, contrast beautifully with Frankel’s raspy vocals, to encapsulate the listener’s interest in their emotional, pained sound. Down In Heaven is an album which epitomises summer. From the disappointing youthful romances, to partying until the early hours with your friends: this third album makes for a poignant excavation of the quintet's smoothest work to date. They've achieved the above in a way that isn't cliche, but rather tasteful and addictive. This unique album is a serious contender for album of the summer, if not year.
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