Twin Peaks, 'Wild Onion'

Twin Peaks, 'Wild Onion' (July 31, 2014)

*** (out of four)

The barely-20-year-old rockers of Twin Peaks are really good at crafting short, catchy songs guaranteed to increase your summer air guitar quotient by 200 percent. So it’s easy to wish “Wild Onion,” the quartet’s sophomore release, was nothing but excellently concise winners like “Flavor” and “Fade Away,” both of which clock in at only a tad more than 2 minutes. Why not keep the entire record tightly wound and powerful?

The next-big-thing locals go for more on the 16-track album, though, perhaps wanting to set “Wild Onion” apart from its less-polished, 19-minute predecessor, “Sunken,” and the Smith Westerns comparisons it inspired. It’s certainly fair to want to give a record texture rather than cranking out one fireball after another. Yet dreamy, psychedelic bits like “Strange World” and “Stranger World” and ballad “Ordinary People” find Twin Peaks settling into something, well, ordinary and less resonant. Wearing Rolling Stones/Beach Boys influences pretty loudly, the band can’t sustain the momentum found on the album’s first half.

Yet Twin Peaks (which was awesome at Pitchfork) demonstrates impressive command of its grooves (note the irresistible “Making Breakfast” and explosive “Strawberry Smoothie”), complementing the music with occasionally grabby lines like, “It’s been a while since we’ve spoken, I guess my doorbell must be broken” (“Good Lovin’”). The first licks of opener “I Found a New Way” will make your hand instinctively shoot forward to turn up the volume. And you can always edit your own, 10- or 11-track version of “Wild Onion” that would be over quickly while capturing the youthful exuberance in the best songs. Being able to listen to it twice in an hour wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

In concert: Oct. 30 at Lincoln Hall
 

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mpais@tribune.com

 

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