Twin Peaks, a five-year-old four piece Chicago band is new music to me, even with my prideful Chicago attitude and impeccable taste in enchanting music. However, my first soiree has been pleasantly surprising, and this funky, indie quartet has been able to musically sway me. Their newest full-length, Wild Onion, is a clash of punk elements and groovy melodies, giving in to their creative desires.
I always like to talk about the opening track because I feel like the first song really sets the tone for further expectations. In this case, the opening track, “I Found a New Way”, has the effect I expected. The starter guitars have some echo and divulge into a more poppy and upbeat melody. When the other instruments come in, the pace quickens, but loosens into an open assemble of lightness. The vocals are rustic and deep throughout the verses, but scream the lyrics, “I found a new way/to open up the day/all you gotta do is follow me through/ and I know that you’ll be okay”, through every chorus and as the climax of the song. This initiation kicks off the ambience.
I’m also extremely fond of the track “Strawberry Smoothie”, which includes a faster, rougher, and more demanding melody. The instruments are louder, and they clash, but move the song is a harsher place. The lyrics are almost complimentary, but give off some anger. Lines like “you know you’re groovy but you move too slow” and “you’re headed nowhere with eyes glued to the ground” seem standoffish, but mixed with the lyrics “so pick your head up honey, look around/go pick your pieces up from the lost and found”, they become inspirational. The environment of this song is fast and crazy, but also motivational. Punk meets a self-help book.
The majority of the material on Wild Onion is under three minutes, with the partner, shortest tracks “Strange World”, which includes some vocals and a very psychedelic base, and “Stranger World”, which takes a few seconds to start and sounds like the opening credits for a 70’s porno. The short, developed bursts of creativity on Wild Onion are a perfect example of their complied talents, but songs like ‘Telephone”, “Making Breakfast”, and “Hold On” really stick.
“Telephone” follows the exciting sex break of “Stranger World”, but includes its own identity, fusing less angst with a sadder melody. The combination of a classic rock breakdown somewhere in the middle and a slower pace give the song more. The vocals are also more downbeat, adding drama to their sad declarations of “I went out/to the wasteland/looking for a friend”.
“Making Breakfast” starts with a strong, happy guitar, following a very poppy melody the entire time. The climax of the song is an increase in the instrumental ability, which is extremely pleasing. Even with the combination of clean vocals and a throaty screaming accompaniment, the lyrics “don’t let it get you down” are just another positive element to “Making Breakfast”. The slowest variable is “Hold On”, which starts off with a modern introduction, but creates something interesting with feedback and guitar echoes. The collision of instruments reaches height before the chorus can conclude anything, but allows for a proper release with the clean chorus of “please don’t go”. The only con is the length. Coming in at a little over two seconds, the song’s over too soon.
The only problems I can feel with Wild Onion is the length of some of the tracks and how something mesh too well into each other. I want to fully develop an emotional response, but not enough songs allow for my musical attachment. The band has not allowed me to commit. And, the songs are very closely related, whether in style or content, and one can easily get lost in separate tracks, giving a feel for continuous motion, but not allowing a particular song to be represented individually. Each of these tracks deserves the spotlight.
However, Wild Onion is an adventure in punk funk, leading listeners to the promise land of innovation and groovy style. Twin Peaks has extreme talent and have somehow been able to make their music modernly distinctive, but still classic. From one Chicagoan to another, I’m proud.