Just a few bars in, it’s hard to deny that Twin Peaks’ new record sounds as exuberant and free as their live presence. In fact, Lookout Low – their fourth studio album, which hits shelves tomorrow – was recorded with precisely that intent, in a few loose, often first takes with producer Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, U2) in Wales. Twin Peaks were listening to a lot of live records on tour, especially Tonight’s the Night by Neil Young and plenty of live Grateful Dead – when they decided to do this whole record live, as we learned in a recent in-depth interview (coming to P&W tomorrow). The fact that they achieved that live-show energy in the studio already makes the album a pleasure, but the new tunes from the Chicago garage rockers are also fundamentally catchy and sweet; repeat-mandatory if you dig that feel-good classic vibe as much as we do. A summertime feel shimmers throughout the groovy ride that is Lookout Low, taking shape in its authentic lyrics and hopeful progressions. The wise words, “…so it feels a little late to let love in / Well, it’s never too late to try” and “Just as long as this world still has you around, you can always make somebody smile” from titular track “Lookout Low” echo the optimistic feelings that fill the album.
As they achieved in their prior three studio albums, Twin Peaks have found a way to fold empathy and positivity into their guitar-driven layers, creating a lasting good-vibey state for the listener. The lovely dudes of Twin Peaks – including Cadien Lake James (a.k.a. Big Tuna), Clay Frankel, Jack Dolan, Connor Brodner, and Colin Croom – all bring song concepts to the table and welcome new ideas regardless of genre. Like their songwriting process, their individual personalities and sounds coalesce harmoniously in the ebbs and flows of Lookout Low. They’ve really locked things in beautifully over the years since their 2010 formation as high school basement-rockers. Impressively, the band initially demoed twenty-seven songs for this record, rehearsing each one doggedly before narrowing them down to the ten that made the cut. Seven of those ten are enhanced by elegant backup vocals from the duo who make up fellow Chicago band OHMME; Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham’s strong harmonies intermingle beautifully with the guys’ raw riffs and their own unique vocal contributions (we’re looking at you, “Under A Smile”). Auxiliary percussion from drummer Kyle Davis adds to Lookout Low’s all-around pleasing mix.
The album’s first single and music video, “Dance Through It,” was a gem of a sneak peek into this made-for-the-stage record; while each song has stick-in-your-head elements, this is certainly one of the stickiest, along with the addictive “Better Than Stoned.” Every song stands out in some way; “Casey’s Groove” and “Ferry Song” sound like radio rock hits from the past, as does “Laid In Gold,” a song that should be pursued by kids at future piano recitals. “Oh Mama,” which became the album’s second music video, is a fiery treat that will likely prompt even more of the affectionate screaming Twin Peaks trigger during their live shows. Both “Unfamiliar Sun” and “Sunken II” could set the soundtrack for a pivotally moving scene in a film, and listening to their melodies makes one feel like their own everyday life has a cool guitar-laden soundtrack. The fact that Lookout Low is being released on Friday the thirteenth (the reputedly unlucky day) is ironic, given how lucky we are to have another thoughtful, rockin’ Twin Peaks record to spin.
Order Lookout Low on vinyl here or find it in stores tomorrow, Friday, September 13th. You can follow Twin Peaks on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for updates about their music and North American tour. Check P&W tomorrow for an exclusive in-depth interview with Twin Peaks discussing this fine record and much more.
Article: Olivia Isenhart