by ewan blacklaw (@ewanblacklaw)
Last year, prominent Chicago rock outfit Twin Peaks announced that they would be releasing two singles every month until the end of the year. The band had previously released three full-length albums, each one straying further from the overly tried-and-tested garage rock sound that was heard in Sunken back in 2013. The decision to release music using a different method last year resulted in a total of twelve songs being released over the course of six months, titled the Sweet ’17 Singles. Whilst singles themselves, as a concept, have been around since music was first commercialised the idea of releasing a series of planned singles as opposed to releasing a full-length album is rare, especially recently.
Due to the nature of this ‘recent’ release, there are no new songs to be heard. If anything, the release of this collection is a good chance for fans to purchase the vinyl or just an easy way to group half a year’s work together though this is not to say that the singles don’t feel at all like a cohesive piece of work. Each single follows the same general tone without feeling stale for the most part, that tone being nostalgia. The 60’s was an incredibly influential time for rock music and many bands still take inspiration from artists of that era but what Twin Peaks does differently is recreate the sound, wearing their influences on their sleeves for everyone to see.
This has been the gradual direction that the band has taken since their garage rock beginnings, with each release sounding more folky and dreamy than the last. With sounds of The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground creeping into their last album, Down In Heaven, as well as their live shows, it is clear that Twin Peaks know how to adapt this sound and still appeal to a younger audience.
This assortment of tracks does not feel like a cop out, which was a potential outcome when the band announced that they would be working on singles rather than on a full studio album. Each of the singles has a beautiful organic sound that creates an instant sense of nostalgia, with catchy melodies and well-polished instrumentals. It is clear that the band and their sound are growing; this growth is perfectly captured with each month that went by, and in turn with each single.
It seems that Twin Peaks, for the most part have shed their garage rock shell and have blossomed into this new sound. That’s not to say that the band are creating cutting edge tracks, or making an exclusive never heard before sound – they are just creating feel-good music with melodies that will stick in your head and lyrics that will make you miss a time before your own. Some of the stand out tracks include Blue Coupe, Come For Me and Tossing Tears, not to mention Shake Your Lonely, which seems to have become a fan favourite at recent live shows.
It is clear that Twin Peaks aren’t trying to blow anyone’s mind or challenge sonic capabilities, but with this series of singles the band continue to make catchy, easy listening tunes sprinkled with some insightful and nostalgic lyrics throughout. The band have moved forward by looking back for influence, and finding it in many great folk and rock ‘n’ roll stars of the past. While their fans may have to wait a while longer for another full album, this collection of singles should be enough to keep them going, as well as being an interesting concept for a relatively underground band to create. Overall, Twin Peaks, with their Sweet ’17 Singles, have made an interesting collection of tracks that make a great soundtrack for reflection.