Named after a TV series that finished before they were born, Twin Peaks are no small-town gothic horror show but a four-piece indie band from Chicago buzzing with the normal testosterone levels for that age. Mixing up power pop with garage rock, their 2013 debut lo-fi mini-album Sunken showed raw potential, while last year’s more substantial album Wild Onion demonstrated increased maturity and diversity. Their short, spontaneous songs shot through with bursts of rhapsody in a haze of reverb exude a carefree youthful exuberance.
Now in their early twenties, front man Cadien Lake James, guitarist Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan and drummer Connor Brodner (with an additional keyboardist) evidently still get teenage kicks out of performing live. The standing three actually share lead vocals, in a laid-back style that indicates a group of friends who like to hang out together.
They also seem quite cool about sharing the stage with various members of the enthusiastic young audience, who jump up for a piece of the limelight before being politely but firmly ushered off by security. Not to mention receiving the focused attention of a pack of photographers covering this NME Awards Show. It’s pretty crowded there at times at the cramped and sweaty basement 100 Club – seemingly just how the band like it, up close and personal.
Twin Peaks’ raucous 45-minute set kicks off with first single Stand In The Sand, and includes more recent highlights such as the hope-filled I Found A New Way, the self-affirming Flavor and the seize-the-moment Making Breakfast, as well as a cover of Today’s Hits’ What Up Dog, before encoring with the choppy early song Boomers. The band resonate a slightly spaced out, irrepressibly feel-good vibe.
The upbeat performance is engagingly shambolic at times, with rather a lot of tuning up between songs that breaks the momentum, while the subtlety and texture in the recorded songs tend to be sacrificed to frenzied directness. The guys seem to be having as much fun as the crowd-surfing fans, taking it in turns to dive into the welcoming throng.
The band’s friends and fellow Chicago indie rockers The Orwells may have played a more accomplished set at the 100 Club a year ago, with a set of more rounded songs to draw on, but Twin Peaks are developing fast – and have plenty of time ahead of them to flex their musical muscles.