- by Steve Ricciutti Rating:10 Release Date:2016-05-15 Label: Communion
Twin Peaks are back with their third album, Down in Heaven, a trip-happy dose of garage-rock-jangle ecstasy. I’ll be honest; this didn’t knock me over the first few times I heard it. It sounded too neo-hippie for me, but the more turns I had, the more I began to see the beauty beneath the groovy, and now I can’t hear it often enough. Hell, I didn't really care for Exile on Main Street at first, either.
Lead singer Cadien Lake James, has a range that goes from smooth croon to Billy Corgan-esque shrill whine to borderline silly falsetto. The band isn’t as garage raw as in the past, with their sound more polished and the playing very tight. Despite the loose vibe, this is a layered and textured album.
My favorites are when the band gets languid and bluesy, as on “Wanted You” with it’s falsetto chorus and pleading, strained chorus, or “Stain,” which includes lyrical gems like, “Shaking hands with sycophantic cunts mile after mile.” “Heavenly Showers” eases into your head with a sweet acoustic guitar ringing underneath a lyrical memory of a fuzzy good morning and a lovely horn solo/outro, and “Holding Roses” is another chill gem.
“Keep it Together” has a muddy, chuggy melody and vocal delivery that reminds me of Transformer-era Uncle Lou. “Cold Lips” with a great line of “You can live how you want if you don’t mind living alone,” does the falsetto one better with a bridge that walks the line between ridiculous and charming, just as Mick Jagger did on “Emotional Rescue” decades ago. “Butterfly” has an alt-country twang coupled with a bubblegum ba-ba-bap-bap-ba chorus straight from The Top 40 of 1967. That same vibe shows up in the opening of “My Boys,” blowing a summer breeze through your head as you hit the highway with the windows down singing “Ninety miles an hour down the fucking road.” “Have You Ever” closes out the disc with experimental instrumental flourishes and an end of the night fade out as they ride off to the next hash bar.
“Down in Heaven” is a very nice album of happy, fun, and slightly stoned alt-pop with a twist of country and blues. There’s plenty of polished musicianship and the band sounds a lot more mature than their age and experience would imply. This is a perfect listen for a lazy summer in the lawn chair with a buzz on and a cooler nearby. Look for them on tour this summer in the states, frequently playing with Cage the Elephant.