What Twin Peaks lack in the way of David Lynch-ian psychodrama, they more than make up for in delightful dream pop. On first listen, the young Chicago band seems to prefer reverb and T-Rex to any of the suburban dream which could be found in director Lynch’s TV show of the same-name.
However, peeling back the iridescent layers of Sunken’s guitars suggests a sort of kinship with the Twin Peaks of the small-screen. For signs of Peaks’ sinister “Americana,” look no further than the track “Fast Eddie” with its Chuck Berry-meets-Interpol guitar chugs and a 1960s organ to set the mood.
The first in a stunning mid-album run, “Fast Eddie” begs the comparison to a band like the Pixies whose greatest feat was to take a hodgepodge of influences (surf, garage rock, rockabilly) and spin it into something unique. It’s no small charge to whine like a young Mike Love while cymbals crash in the background, yet with “Fast Eddie,” the band makes it sound effortless. Not bad for a group of 19-year-olds.
Considering their age, it’s remarkable just how varied Twin Peaks’ songs really are. Although album opener “Baby Blue” threatens to peg them as yet another indie-dream-pop band a la Beach Fossils or Wild Nothing, the album veers toward something more engaging with the second track “Natural Villain.” The singer intones, “Little darlin’ come down and see me,” but the guitars shudder violently over a descending melody that never quite fits together, again reflecting the unsettling small-town politics of television’s “Twin Peaks.”
Elsewhere, the band tries their hand at garage-y classic rock with “Out of Commission,” its blast-beats and Iggy Pop-esque crooning making for a phenomenal minute-and-a-half of pure energy.
Where the band really seems to shine, though, is in the more melodic and stately work of tracks like “Stand In The Sand” and “Irene,” both songs boasting catchy enough guitar hooks to blow up on college radio.
“Stand In The Sand” deserves multiple listens, expertly navigating through Psychocandy-like fuzz, and a bend-heavy guitar solo that gives The Allman Brothers Band a run for its money. It’s pretty exciting stuff for such a young band’s debut record.
As with Sunken’s opening song, the end of the album has a tendency to sound quaint after the majesty of “Stand In The Sand” and “Irene.” The penultimate “Boomers” especially sounds as if it wants to be the indie anthem of the summer, but its tiresome riff never quite gives it the backbone to succeed.
“Ocean Blue” closes Sunken out on a better note, returning to the well-worn dream pop of “Baby Blue” but infusing its choruses with an infectious glam-rock riff that renders the song more fun than it otherwise might have been. All in all, for a 20 minute album to have so many potential classics is an achievement of its own. Listening to Twin Peaks is certainly worth the effort.