Twin Peaks, “Down in Heaven”

Twin PeaksTwin_Peaks-2016-Down_in_Heaven
Down in Heaven
GRAND JURY
8/10

There’s a line in “Walk to the One You Love,” the opening track on Twin Peaks’ third album, Down in Heaven, that encapsulates the band’s attitude at this point in their career: “I would hate to see you walk away / But I won’t cry or beg for you to stay.” The acclaimed Chicago five-piece has seen the crowds turn out for what they do. They know the fun they’re going to have no matter what. They may want you, but they don’t need you.

Twin Peaks’ 2013 debut, Sunken, was basically eight two-minute songs, a punch of an album that didn’t wear out its welcome. 2014’s Wild Onion was longer—double the first, actually, with sixteen songs and more room for the band to experiment. It’s been a pleasure to listen to the band test the depths of their own waters, and Down in Heaven finds them going even further. The album’s thirteen tracks were mixed by John Agnello, whose other collaborators—Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile—are more in line with Twin Peaks’ earlier aesthetic. The stylistic result on Down in Heaven is unexpected, but its high quality isn’t. “Walk to the One You Love” sounds more like Spoon than anything Twin Peaks has ever done. “Wanted You,” the second song, could be a Sticky Fingers outtake.

The pace is slower than what Twin Peaks fans are used to, but the music is never boring. The energy is there, in the sneering, Jagger-esque vocals (it’s clear that the band has had The Stones on heavy rotation). On “Heavenly Showers,” they sing, “No I don’t feel too bad now darling, but I sure could / But I don’t, and you better bet that I won’t.” They could wallow in heartache and breakups, but they’re older and wiser, and they know it’s a waste of their precious time. Down in Heaven was recorded in a good friend’s living room, and the comfort and familiarity shine through. You can almost hear them kicking their feet up and swapping stories.

When a band this good is intent on changing with every album, it’s a pure pleasure to hear what they come up with. “I will let you walk to the one you love,” they sing on that first song, and by the end of Down in Heaven, there’s no way it’s not Twin Peaks. 

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