Twin Peak’s new album falls short compared to the band’s old sound

By Josie Stewart, ‘21

If you clicked on this review, you’re either a fan of the band or are wondering why someone would write a review about a show last popular 25 years ago. Either way, keep reading to discover a new band or to find someone who is just as big a fan as you.

Twin Peaks released their fourth album, Lookout Low, on Sept. 13. It features 10 songs with 42 minutes of music. The band, which initially grew popular in the music scene in their native Chicago, describes the album as something that shows Twin Peaks as “less a band and more a brotherhood.” Although the songs blend well together (many being upbeat indie rockers), the album strays from the group’s previous sounds in albums such as Down in Heaven and their LP debut, Sunken, which features what their most recognizable song, “Irene.”

“Irene” and their second most-popular song, “Blue Coupe,” both include sounds unique to the band. Twin Peaks creates soft music with a slight rock edge, similar to Whitney and other bands considered more dream-pop and indie. Both songs are easy singalongs—songs for montages of teenagers driving and laughing at the beach in a sappy film. Lookout Low, on the other hand, never achieves this same feeling.

“Casey’s Groove,” the opener, frankly, disappoints. It’s unrecognizable as a Twin Peaks song and, therefore, not a tune I’d include in any playlist. Although it’s written and played well, it isn’t true to the Twin Peaks sound fans have grown to love. It transitions clumsily between parts and cannot play perfectly over and over again in my head as many of their best songs can.

At their Columbus concert on Sept. 14, they featured many songs from their new album, as it released the day before. “Dance Through It” and “Ferry Song” were included in their set, as well as “Oh Mama” to conclude the night as the encore. “Oh Mama,” while one of the band’s most exciting and upbeat songs, worked well as the closing of their concert, but with a normal listen it falls short in the sound and emotion that is typically invoked with their music. The song simply sounds like it was written for an audience different than their fans.

My personal favorite from the album, “Under a Smile,” gives a laid-back, slightly pseudo-psychedelic sound reminiscent of their past albums. Furthermore, the vocals sound like Whitney’s Julien Ehrlich singing in a lower, raspier voice. It may not meet my expectations for the album, but it doesn’t disappoint. 

The 42-minute album could have been condensed, but the Chicago-based group needs to be reminded of its roots and possibly its mission as a band rather than their connection as one. Lookout Low is a risky development that has not paid off, but the band nonetheless remains a prominent rock presence with an undeniable talent for accompaniment and stage performances.

If you haven’t listened to Lookout Low, you can find it on Spotify and SoundCloud here.