On Twin Peaks’ fourth album, ‘Lookout Low’ the fivesome set out to encapsulate the thrill of their live shows, this meant decamping to their studio and practise space to embrace true collaboration; the result was a hefty 27 songs that were then whittled down to a leaner 10 for their new record. The Chicago outfit toiled away relentlessly until their output was as tight as it could be and to ensure they were completely satisfied with what would eventually become ‘Lookout Low’. The rich vein of inspiration across the group’s five members resulted in Twin Peaks absorbing more influence and adding more facets than ever before, lassoing in a soul-flecked sound, along with a liberal introduction of brass and a slight touch of gospel.
With a sonic make-up constructed upon a 60s garage-rock twang, even with additional layers of other genres, ‘Lookout Low’ doesn’t deviate too much from the band’s retro stylings. When it comes to a sprinkling of soul, jazz or gospel, it’s exactly that, rather than a radical new ingredient, it’s more of a side order, an amuse- bouche if you will. Tonally, the record shimmers with an autumnal feel, there’s still the fading embers of summer sun to warm your bones but with the jangly guitars and steady drumming, it’s as if the band are readying themselves for the latter part of the year, when you’re starting to think about hunkering down at home, with a bowl of soup and cosy blanket. That said, ‘Oh Mama’ can be seen as the LP’s Indian summer, where the record’s laidback demeanour switches to something altogether more raucous. Throw in some “woooos” and a freewheeling guitar solo amongst the organ trills and you’ve got a track as scorching hot as a July day. With an approach that’s more pedestrian than thrill-seeking, ‘Lookout Low’ takes on a reflective mood; the album’s eponymous track, twangs and grooves with a laid-back swagger that typifies the band’s ruminations on life “it takes too long a time to get to know you/and it takes to short a time to say goodbye”. ‘Ferry Song’s piano rock ‘n’ roll bounce distils a vintage feel whilst stating “you’re my good luck charm/the smoke that never left my lungs” which is punctuated by a rousing blast of brass. ‘Dance Through It’ is a nimble jiggle through assorted percussion and a jazzy undertone; as you’d expect, the track is danceable – less of a hedonistic rush, more of a pleasant head bob. The song regales us with the tale of a somewhat reckless character and disregard for her own safety “when she senses danger near/she doesn’t appear to care about it”.
‘Lookout Low’ is a pleasant enough, serviceable record – it won’t set your pulse racing, nor will it pull at your heartstrings. It’s like a Rich Tea biscuit; nice, dependable but not all that exciting.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams