On their third album, Down in Heaven, Twin Peaks have done many of the things expected of a band alight with buzz. They spent more time recording the album at a friend’s studio in Massachusetts. They added new instrumentation in the form of keyboardist Colin Croom, as well as a smattering of horns throughout the album. And, of course, they hired a veteran engineer — John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr.) — to give the new songs that special sheen. The resulting album is considerably less boisterous than 2014’s breakout Wild Onion, offering the quintet a chance to showcase more than wild exuberance and a deep indebtedness to a certain hazy era of rock ‘n’ roll.
Mostly what they bring to the table is a poppier vibe, a little more lovelorn jangle and a decidedly intense focus on recreating the sound of The Rolling Stones. How well they succeed is up for some debate, but it’s not fair to the band to say that their best effort at recreating a seminal rock ‘n’ roll band falls short. Of course it does. They are not The Rolling Stones, or The Beatles, or The Kinks. They are Twin Peaks, five dudes out to pay homage to some of their favorite old-school records in the year 2016, and they do so with a sincere love for the era. It’s hard to say what their shelf life might be should they stay the course for a fourth album, but certain signs, like the off-kilter psych break downs of “Stain,” hint at something beyond homage.
If a lyrical theme runs throughout the album, it is that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, and the band’s love for the good old times, and the women they may have contained, is palpable, even if the morning after is a little foggy. Someone has to keep the past alive after all, and Twin Peaks are doing an amiable job as real-time historians. »
– JP Kemmick