The wait is over: The feel-good album of the year is here.
A whole lot of folks' summers are going to become exponentially better come Aug. 5, when Grand Jury drops Wild Onion by Chicago-based Twin Peaks. The 16-track party opus is ripe for SoCal beach bonfires, skate park makeout sessions, neverending road trip escapades -- hell, whenever you want to get weird and have fun. Luckily for San Diegans, the band brings their good-time garage rock to Soda Bar May 28 with UK post-punk buzzband Eagulls (read our interview with the band here).
With a name taken straight off everyone's favorite David Lynch TV series, Twin Peaks would've fallen quite nicely into some kind of campy, psych-noise rock genre -- but instead, the band's debut album (pre-order it here) is 100 percent reckless pop pageantry.
The vocals (shared by three of the four members) have all got the heavy swagger of cool kids who know they're cool. You know the ones -- the stoned hipsters suspiciously similar to the James Franco character from Freaks & Geeks (hey, another short-lived TV show reference!) -- but the usual air of indifference associated with those kinds of burnout punks (geez, who am I -- the dad from That '70s Show? OK, enough with the TV references already) is thankfully replaced by heart-on-your-sleeve passion typically reserved for the sensitive folk side of indie rock.
This indie rock quartet rarely over-emote but they play like they mean it -- which, in their genre, is almost ground-breaking -- and their songs always lean forward with a woozy, booze-soaked strut. At the core, the fuzz guitar anthems and rickety surf rhythms do have a lot in common with some of garage pop's current punk-influenced heavy-hitters like Ty Segall and Black Lips -- but the songs ooze with a rich melodicism more in line with the Beach Boys or the Kinks than their current peers.
12 out of the 16 tracks clock in under three minutes but these guys (frontman Cadien James Lake, guitarist Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan and drummer Connor Brodner) cram every splendid hook you'd ever want to hear into the songs, just the same. The leadoff track, "I Found a New Way," jumpstarts the album with early-'80s Clash-esque attitude, while ragtag pop gems like "Flavor" (the album's first single -- listen here) and "Sloop Jay D" bop along with tongue-in-cheek lyrics like, "I'm such a loser and/My friends think I'm a loser/I wake up with bruises/Cuz now I'm a bruiser."
The gorgeous and near-psychedelic sojourns of "Mirror of Time," "Hold On" and "Stranger World" take a few moments out from the all-night bender to offer gentle embraces to the weary and more than prove that these guys aren't just one-trick ponies -- far from it, in fact.
With songs like "Making Breakfast" that sound like the Cars' late Benjamin Orr fronting Some Girls-era Rolling Stones, this album is just what this summer needs: A playful, rollicking romp with a punkish, who-gives-a-f--- attitude. This is just feel-good rock & roll that doesn't take itself too seriously; a 40 minute reminder to relax, chug a beer and just roll with punches when life gets dumb.
Halfway through the album, the band says it best: "Nothing lasts forever/But don't let it get you down."
Casbah Presents Twin Peaks at Soda Bar May 28 with Eagulls and Ditches. Tickets are $10 and available here. The show is 21+ and starts at 8:30 p.m.